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For the plant genus, see Loricaria (plant).

Loricaria cataphracta.jpg
Loricaria cataphracta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Loricariidae
Subfamily: Loricariinae
Tribe: Loricariini
Genus: Loricaria
Type species
Loricaria cataphracta

Fowler, 1940

Loricaria is a genus of armored catfishes native to South America.


Loricaria was the first genus of the family Loricariidae described.[1] Thus, it is the nominal genus of the family Loricariidae.[2] Phylogenetic relationships within Loricaria and among other members of Loricariini remain uncertain. Its external morphology shows few shared derived characters, making comparison with other genera difficult. Loricaria has been hypothesized to occupy a basal position among members of the subtribe Loricariina, with the other genera possessing derived characters. Based on the characteristics of its mouth, Loricaria appears to maintain a close relationship with representatives of the Pseudohemiodon group.[2] Proloricaria is considered a synonym of Loricaria.[2]


There are currently 17 recognized species in this genus:[3][4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This genus is distributed east of the Andes in nearly the entire tropical and subtropical parts of South America. Species occur in a variety of habitats from the main flow of rivers on sandy and rocky bottoms to flooded areas and lakes over muddy and sandy bottoms.[2]


Loricaria species are recognized by the presence of elongate, slender filaments on the lips and a low number of bicuspid premaxillary teeth (usually three to four per side) that are about twice the length of the dentary teeth.[1]

Sexual dimorphism includes hypertrophied development of the pectoral fin spines, blunt odontodes on the pelvic and anal fin spines, and tooth crowns becoming shortened and rounded in mature males.[2]

For the four species characterized, karyotypic diversity ranges from 2n = 62 to 2n = 68.[2]


The site of egg deposition varies; L. curvispina places its eggs over flat rocks in rapids.[7] In some species, eggs are carried on the enlarged lower lip of the male. L. piracicabae has its egg adherent to its ventral surface.[7] Males are abdomino-lip brooders.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Thomas, Matthew R.; Py-Daniel, Lúcia H. Rapp (2008). "Three new species of the armored catfish genus Loricaria (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from river channels of the Amazon basin". Neotropical Ichthyology. 6 (3): 379–394. doi:10.1590/S1679-62252008000300011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Covain, Raphael; Fisch-Muller, Sonia (2007). "The genera of the Neotropical armored catfish subfamily Loricariinae (Siluriformes: Loricariidae): a practical key and synopsis" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1462: 1–40.
  3. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). Species of Loricaria in FishBase. December 2011 version.
  4. ^ a b Thomas, M.R., Rodriguez, M.S., Cavallaro, M.R., Froehlich, O. & Corrêa E Castro, R.M. (2013): Loricaria luciae, a new species of whiptail catfish (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the Paraguay and lower Paraná River basins of southeastern South America. Zootaxa, 3745 (3): 365–378.
  5. ^ Thomas, Matthew R.; Sabaj Pérez, Mark H. (2010). "A New Species of Whiptail Catfish, Genus Loricaria (Siluriformes: Loricariidae), from the Rio Curuá (Xingu Basin), Brazil". Copeia. 2010 (2): 274–283. doi:10.1643/CI-09-097.
  6. ^ Rodriguez, M.S., Cavallaro, M.R. & Thomas, M.R. (2012): A New Diminutive Species of Loricaria (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the Rio Paraguay System, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Copeia 2012, (1): 49–56.
  7. ^ a b Eric, G.; Moodie, E.; Power, Mary (1982). "The reproductive biology of an armoured catfish, Loricaria uracantha, from Central America". Env. Biol. Fish. 7 (2): 143–148. doi:10.1007/BF00001784.