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Nannostomus trifasciatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Superfamily: Erythrinoidea
Family: Lebiasinidae


The pencil fishes are a family (Lebiasinidae) of freshwater fishes found in Costa Rica, Panama, and South America. They are usually small and are known as ornamental fishes in aquaria, including popular fishes such as the various pencil fish and the splashing tetra.

Lebiasinids are small, cylindrical fish, ranging from 2 to 18 cm (0.8 to 7.1 in) in adult length. They prey on insect larvae, especially those of mosquitos. The family includes the voladoras (genera Lebiasina and Piabucina), mostly found in highlands of the north Andes, the Guiana Shield and Central America, but the other species are mainly lowland fish inhabiting the Orinoco, Amazon and Paraguay River basins, and rivers of the Guianas.[1]


Around 67 species are placed in these genera:[2]

Subfamily Lebiasininae - voladoras

Subfamily Pyrrhulininae, tribe Pyrrhulinini

Subfamily Pyrrhulininae, tribe Nannostomini

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Weitzman, S.H.; Vari, R.P. (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N., eds. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). "Lebiasinidae" in FishBase. October 2011 version.