Raphael Covain & Sonia Fisch-Muller, 2007, The genera of the Neotropical armored catfish subfamily Loricariinae (Siluriformes: Loricariidae): a practical key and synopsis., Zootaxa 1462, pp. 1-40: 1

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[[ Family Loricariidae  ]]

The Neotropics contain one of the most diverse freshwater ichthyofaunas in the world with around 6,000 of the 13,000 known species (Reis et al. 2003). In Central and South America, the Ostariophysi are undoubtedly the largest represented group and among them, the Siluriformes exhibit the greatest diversity with around 1,647 described species (Reis et al. 2003) distributed in 16 families, one of which was discovered and described only recently ( Rodiles-Hernández et al. 2005). Among the Siluriformes, the Loricariidae  , or armored catfish, is the most speciose family in the world comprising 673 valid species and around 300 recognized as undescribed (Reis et al. 2003). Loricariids are characterized by a depressed body covered by bony plates, a unique pair of maxillary barbels, and above all, by an important modification of the mouth structure into a sucker disk. This structural transformation enables these fishes to adhere to the substrate, even in particularly fast flowing waters. The mouth and teeth show strong adaptations to feeding by scraping submerged substrates to eat algae, small invertebrates, detritus, and even wood. Loricariids have undergone an evolutionary radiation on a subcontinental scale, from Costa Rica to Argentina, both on the Pacific and Atlantic slopes of the Andes. They have colonized nearly all freshwater habitats from the torrential waters flowing from the Andes to quiet brackish waters of the estuaries, black and acidic waters of the Guiana Shield, and subterranean systems. Schaefer & Stewart (1993) compare this radiation to that of the Cichlidae of the Great Lakes of the Rift Valley in Africa. Extremely variable color patterns and body shapes among loricariid taxa reflect their high degree of ecological specialization. Because of their highly specialized morphology loricariids have been recognized as a monophyletic assemblage in the earliest classifications of the Siluriformes (de Pinna 1998). The family comprises five or six subfamilies, depending on different authors’ classifications. Isbrücker (1980), and Ferraris in Reis et al. (2003) divide Loricariidae  into six subfamilies, the Ancistrinae  , the Hypoptopomatinae  , the Hypostominae  , the Lithogeneinae  , the Loricariinae  , and the Neoplecostominae  . Armbruster (2004) recognized five subfamilies placing Ancistrinae  as a tribe within Hypostominae  , even though this statement does not resolve paraphylies highlighted by Montoya-Burgos et al. (1998) within both subfamilies. Reis et al. (2006) followed Armbruster’s (2004) classification, and described the new subfamily Delturinae  according to the phylogenetic results of Montoya-Burgos et al. (1998), and Armbruster (2004).