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Schmucksalmler Hyphessobrycon bentosi.jpg
Hyphessobrycon bentosi
Serpae tetra.JPG
Hyphessobrycon eques
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Family: Characidae
Subfamily: incertae sedis
Genus: Hyphessobrycon
Durbin, 1908
Type species
Hemigrammus compressus
Meek, 1904

Dermatocheir Durbin, 1909
Megalamphodus Eigenmann, 1915
Pseudopristella Géry, 1960

Hyphessobrycon is a genus of freshwater fish in the family Characidae of order Characiformes. These species are among the fishes known as tetras. The genus is distributed in the Neotropic ecozone from southern Mexico to Río de la Plata in Argentina. Many of these species are native to South America; about half a dozen species are from Central America and a single species, H. compressus is from southern Mexico.[1]

All small fishes, the Hyphessobrycon tetras reach maximum overall lengths of about 2–7.5 cm (0.8–3.0 in).[1] There is great anatomical diversity in this genus.[2] They are generally of typical characin shape, but vary greatly in coloration and body form, many species having distinctive black, red or yellow markings on their bodies and fins. These species are generally omnivorous, feeding predominantly on small crustaceans, insects, annelid worms and zooplankton. When spawning, they scatter their eggs and guard neither eggs nor young.


This large genus of characins includes over 140 species.[3] The systematics of Hyphessobrycon are still largely unresolved.[4] Six groups within this genus have been recognized based on color patterns alone.[3] With no phylogenetic analysis of this genus, species are placed into this genus as anatomically defined by Carl H. Eigenmann in 1917.[2] By this definition, Hyphessobrycon is identified by the presence of an adipose fin, incomplete lateral line, two tooth series in the premaxilla, with the teeth of the external series continuous in a single series, teeth not strictly conical, preventral scales arranged in more than one row and lack of scales in the caudal fin.[2] The characteristic of extension of scales onto the caudal fin that differentiates this genus from Hemigrammus is not satisfactory as it occurs in intermediate conditions.[2]

This genus is not monophyletic.[2] A monophyletic group within Hyphessobrycon has been hypothesized, termed the rosy tetra clade; this group is based upon coloration pattern and the shape of dorsal and anal fins of males.[3] Recognition of monophyletic groups among Hyphessobrycon species is complicated by the difficulty in finding characters useful for hypothesis of relationships among the species.[3] Traditional characters used to identify Hyphessobrycon are phylogenetically unreliable.[3]


The generic name, Hyphessobrycon, is of slightly uncertain origin. The second part derives from the Greek βρύκω (to bite); the first, derives from an ostensible Greek hyphesson, which may be an error for υπελάσσων (slightly smaller).[5]

Relationship to humans[edit]

The flame tetra (H. flammeus) is bred in large numbers in captivity and common in the aquarium trade, but rare in the wild[6][7]

None of the roughly one hundred fishes in the genus has been rated by the IUCN, but many species have small distributions and at least one, H. flammeus, is believed to be almost extinct in the wild. This species only occurs in a few rivers and streams in coastal Rio de Janeiro State and in São Paulo State.[6] Two other species are recognized as threatened in Brazil: H. duragenys and H. taurocephalus.[6]

Many Hyphessobrycon species are popular aquarium fish and some, including H. flammeus, are bred in large numbers in captivity.[7][8]


There are currently 146 recognized species in this genus:


  1. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2017). Species of Hyphessobrycon in FishBase. March 2017 version.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lucena, C.A.S.d. (2003): New characid fish, Hyphessobrycon scutulatus, from the rio Teles Pires drainage, upper rio Tapajós system (Ostariophysi: Characiformes: Characidae). Neotropical Ichthyology, 1 (2): 93–96.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bertaco, V.A. & Malabarba, L.R. (2005): A new species of Hyphessobrycon (Teleostei: Characidae) from the upper rio Tocantins drainage, with bony hooks on fins. Neotropical Ichthyology, 3 (1): 83–88.
  4. ^ Lima, F.C.T. & Moreira, C.R. (2003): Three new species of Hyphessobrycon (Characiformes: Characidae) from the upper rio Araguaia basin in Brazil. Neotropical Ichthyology, 1 (1): 21–33.
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2016). Species of Hyphessobrycon in FishBase. June 2016 version.
  6. ^ a b c d Carvalho, F.R., Jesus, G.C.d. & Langeani, F. (2014): Redescription of Hyphessobrycon flammeus Myers, 1924 (Ostariophysi: Characidae), a threatened species from Brazil. Neotropical Ichthyology, 12 (2): 247-256.
  7. ^ a b SeriouslyFish: Hyphessobrycon flammeus. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  8. ^ Aquainfo: Breeding Hyphessobrycon flammeus. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  9. ^ García-Alzate, C.A., Román-Valencia, C. & Taphorn, D.C. (2013): A new species of Hyphessobrycon (Characiformes: Characidae) from the Telembí River drainage, Southern Pacific slope of Colombia. Revista de Biología Tropical, 61 (1): 181-192.
  10. ^ Zarske, A. (2015): Hyphessobrycon clavatus spec. nov. – ein neuer Salmler aus Peru (Teleostei: Characiformes: Characidae). Vertebrate Zoology, 65 (3): 287-296.
  11. ^ Carvalho, F.R. & Malabarba, L.R. (2015): Redescription and osteology of Hyphessobrycon compressus (Meek) (Teleostei: Characidae), type species of the genus. Neotropical Ichthyology, 13 (3): 513-540.
  12. ^ a b Dagosta, F.C.P., Marinho, M.M.F., Camelier, P. & Lima, F.C.T. (2016): A New Species of Hyphessobrycon (Characiformes: Characidae) from the Upper Rio Juruena Basin, Central Brazil, with a Redescription of H. cyanotaenia. Copeia, 104 (1): 250-259.
  13. ^ a b Teixeira, T.F., Netto-Ferreira, A.L., Birindelli, J.L.O. & Sousa, L.M. (2016): Two new species of Hyphessobrycon (Characiformes: Characidae) from the headwaters of the Tapajós and Xingu River basins, Pará, Brazil. Journal of Fish Biology, 88 (2): 459-476.
  14. ^ Dagosta, F.C.P., Marinho, M.M.F. & Camelier, P. (2014): A new species of Hyphessobrycon Durbin (Characiformes: Characidae) from the middle rio São Francisco and upper and middle rio Tocantins basins, Brazil, with comments on its biogeographic history. Neotropical Ichthyology, 12 (2): 365-375.
  15. ^ a b c Zarske, A. (2014): Zur Systematik einiger Blutsalmler oder „Rosy Tetras“ (Teleostei: Ostariophysi: Characidae). Vertebrate Zoology, 64 (2): 139–167.
  16. ^ a b García-Alzate, C.A., Román-Valencia, C. & Ortega, H. (2013): Hyphessobrycon taphorni and H. eschwartzae (Teleostei: Characidae) two new species of fish in the basin of Madre de Dios river, Peru. Revista de Biología Tropical, 61 (2): 859-873.
  17. ^ Teixeira, T.F., Lima, F.C.T. & Zuanon, J. (2014): A New Hyphessobrycon Durbin from the Rio Teles Pires, Rio Tapajós Basin, Mato Grosso State, Brazil (Characiformes: Characidae). Copeia, 2013 (4) [2014]: 612-621.
  18. ^ a b Ingenito, L.F.S., Lima, F.C.T. & Buckup, P.A. (2013): A new species of Hyphessobrycon Durbin (Characiformes: Characidae) from the rio Juruena basin, Central Brazil, with notes on H. loweae Costa & Géry. Neotropical Ichthyology, 11 (1): 33-44.
  19. ^ Ohara, W.M. & Lima, F.C.T. (2015): Hyphessobrycon lucenorum (Characiformes: Characidae), a new species from the rio Madeira basin, Rondônia State, Brazil. Zootaxa, 3972 (4): 562–572.
  20. ^ Zarske, A. (2016): Hyphessobrycon margitae spec. nov. – ein neuer Salmler aus dem Einzugsgebiet des río Nanay in Peru (Teleostei: Characiformes: Characidae). Vertebrate Zoology, 66 (2): 105-115.
  21. ^ Lima, F.C.T., Coutinho, D.P. & Wosiacki, W.B. (2014): A new Hyphessobrycon (Ostariophysi: Characiformes: Characidae) from the middle Amazon basin, Brazil. Zootaxa, 3872 (2): 167–179.
  22. ^ García-Alzate, C.A., Taphorn, D.C., Roman-Valencia, C. & Villa-Navarro, F.A. (2015): Hyphessobrycon natagaima (Characiformes: Characidae) a new species from Colombia, with a key to the Magdalena Basin Hyphessobrycon species. Caldasia, 37 (1): 221-232.
  23. ^ Pastana, M.N.L. & Ohara, W.M. (2016): A new species of Hyphessobrycon Durbin (Characiformes: Characidae) from rio Aripuanã, rio Madeira basin, Brazil. Zootaxa, 4161 (3): 386–398.
  24. ^ Carvalho, F.R. & Langeani, F. (2013): Hyphessobrycon uaiso: new characid fish from the rio Grande, upper rio Paraná basin, Minas Gerais State (Ostariophysi: Characidae), with a brief comment about some types of Hyphessobrycon. Neotropical Ichthyology, 11 (3): 525-536.
  25. ^ Lima, F.C.T. & Flausino, N.Jr. (2016): Hyphessobrycon vanzolinii, a new species from rio Tapajós, Amazon basin, Brazil (Characiformes: Characidae). aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, 22 (2): 89-95.
  26. ^ Marinho, M.M.F., Dagosta, F.C.P., Camelier, P. & Oyakawa, O.T. (2016): A name for the ‘blueberry tetra’, an aquarium trade popular species of Hyphessobrycon Durbin (Characiformes, Characidae), with comments on fish species descriptions lacking accurate type locality. Journal of Fish Biology, 89 (1): 510-521.