of the earliest kept Loracariids (pleco's) along with
the various Ancistrus species and the common
Plecostomus was this slim-like fish and its
compatriots in the Rineloricaria genus such
as R. filamentosa, R. lanceolata and
R. microlepidogaster, and in Gunther Sterba's
two volumes of the "Freshwater Fishes of the
World (1973)" there is line drawings of all four
of these species showing tail filament's and an excellent
drawing of the ventral plates on each of them. The
fish we once knew for many years as Rineloricariaparva and then Hemiloricaria
now undergone a name change again to Rineloricariaparva.
On some online searches the synoynm of Hemiloricaria
parva still appears.
This in my opinion
is one of the most difficultwhiptail speciesto identify with any great certainty as being
easy to breed they are abundant in show and club auctions
and are just sold as Rineloricaria, they could
be anyone of half a dozen species or even crosses
between two close species as a few of them have the
cross banding on the body area but in the main R.
parva should have double extensions to the caudal
There are plenty
of articles in the various aquatic magazines on the
breeding of this species and ScotCat has also an in-depth
piece from the late and much missed Helen Burns titled
The Whiptail Catfish".
A member of our
club, Greenock & D.A.S., has also bred this species
but the unusual aspect of this spawning was that the
female laid her eggs in a pipe that was floating on
the water surface. Below is a thumbnail gallery of
this spawning. Click on the thumbnails for a larger
This species is still listed in Fishbase and Eschmeyer's
Catalog of Fishes as Rineloricaria parva but
the name is sometimes seen in some quarters as Hemiloricaria
parva. Issbrücker (Issbrücker in Issbrücker
et al, 2001) declared the synonymity of Rineloricaria
and Hemiloricaria as no longer valid,
and the latter again as an independent genus. The
differences between the two genera are based on the
positions of the males bristles and the top caudal
filament on adult Hemiloricaria which is
absent on Rinelolricaria.
eggs in plastic pipe on surface of water (1)
eggs in plastic pipe on surface of water (2)
Fry at the
age of one week
Fry at the
age of two weeks
fry at two weeks
at two weeks
L to R R. parva, R.
microlepidogaster, R. lanceolata, R. filamentosa
Loricaria parva, Hemiloricaria
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay: Paraguay River basin.
Type locality: Descalvados, Matto
20-25ºC ( 67-77°f)
Dorsal: 1/7, Anal: 1/5, Pectorals:
1/5, Ventrals: 1/4 29 bony scutes in a lateral series.
The pectoral fin-spine reaches to the second quarter
of the ventral fin-spine when both are laid back.
Upper and lower rays of caudal fin have long filaments.
On the hinder part of the belly there are 3-4 rows
of ventral scutes between the lateral ones; on the
anterior part are numerous small scutes.
Upperside is olive-grey to
grey-yellow with numerous black blotches which are
often united into transverse bars. Underside clay-yellow
to whitish. An irregular dark line runs obliquely
forward from the eye to the tip of the mouth. Fins
transparent, with dark blotches or rows of blotches
on the fin-rays.
Care & Compatibility
They are easy to keep and breed
and do well in a community tank as long as there is
species that are not too aggressive kept alongside
or pipework where the females will lay their eggs
as in the wild they are laid in hollow logs or branches.
The male takes over the guarding of the green coloured
eggs and they hatch, depending on water temperature,
between 3 and 10 days.
Provide a good vegetable diet
for the adults such as cucumber, courgette (zucchini)
and also sinking tablet food. Fry can be reared on
the same foods after a start on brine shrimp and blanched
fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays,
behind the rayed dorsal fin. Anal fin: The median, unpaired, ventrally
located fin that lies behind the anus, usually on
the posterior half of the fish. Dorsal fin:The
primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body. Melanophores:
The pigment cells that permit colour change, and the
concentration of pigment granules within these cells
determine the type of colour that is produced. Pectoral fin: The paired fins just
behind the head. Vomerine teeth: Teeth present on
the vomer which is the anterior bone in the mid-line
of the roof of the mouth.
Allan James @
Bottom Drawing: Gunther Sterba;
Freshwater Fishes of the World (1973) Vol 2.
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