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Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Ostariophysi
Ordo: Siluriformes
Familia: Loricariidae
Subfamilia: Loricariinae
Tribus: Harttiini
Genus: Farlowella
Species: F. acus - F. altocorpus - F. amazonum - F. colombiensis - F. curtirostra - F. gracilis - F. hahni - F. hasemani - F. henriquei - F. isbruckeri - F. jauruensis - F. knerii - F. mariaelenae - F. martini - F. nattereri - F. odontotumulus - F. oxyrryncha - F. paraguayensis - F. platoryncha - F. reticulata - F. rugosa - F. schreitmuelleri - F. smithi - F. taphorni - F. venezuelensis - F. vittata


Farlowella Eigenmann and Eigenmann, 1889

Type species: Acestra acus Kner, 1853

Vernacular names
English: Whiptail Catfish
Português: Farol-vela, Jotoxi

Farlowella is a genus of catfish (order Siluriformes) of the family Loricariidae. These fish resemble twigs or sticks, hence the common names twig catfish or stick catfish. They may also sometimes be referred to as whiptail catfish. Twig catfishes are natives of South America.


Farlowella is placed within the tribe Harttiini of the subfamily Loricariinae. Morphological, molecular, and phylogenetic studies have placed Farlowella as sister to Sturisoma.[1]

The genus name of Farlowella is named in honor of William Gilson Farlow, a famous American botanist of Harvard University whose main work was working with algae plants, the favorite food of this slender catfish.[2]


The genus Farlowella is broadly distributed in Amazon, Orinoco, Paraná, and coastal rivers of the Guyana Shield. It is absent from the Pacific slope of the Andes and from the coastal rivers of the Brazilian shield.[1]

Appearance and anatomy

Farlowella has a unique body shape that resembles of a thin stick of wood. The body is slender and elongate, often with a pronounced rostrum and a brownish color with two lateral dark stripes beginning at the tip of the rostrum, passing over the eyes and ending at the tail, which are periodically interrupted on the caudal peduncle.[1] Sexual dimorphism includes hypertrophied odontodes along the sides of the rostrum or the head in species with a short rostrum.[1]

There are only slight differences between the different types which sometimes lead to confusion. A very important identification is the presence of ventral scutes on these species which differentiates them from each other.[3] Twig catfishes grow between 10 centimetres (4 in) SL in F. smithi and 26.5 cm (10.4 in) SL in F. nattereri.[4][5]

Habitat and ecology

Twig catfishes feed primarily on algae in their natural habitat. Species inhabit areas of gently flowing water in submerged dead leaves and sticks, among which it blends in as a form of camouflage.[1] Some specimens can sometimes be found in swift current over rocks and submerged wood. These species appear scarce, but this may partially be explained by their mimicry.[1] These species are open water brooders. The eggs are laid on open vertical surfaces such as submerged vegetation or rocks, in a single layer and are guarded by the male.[1]

In the aquarium

F. acus, F. vittata and F. gracilis are the most commonly exported species for the aquarium.[3] Twig catfishes require clean water with high dissolved oxygen content.[6] Twig catfish are often lost without enough greens to feed upon.[6]

Species list

Species according to ITIS.[7]

* Farlowella acus (Kner, 1853)
* Farlowella altocorpus Retzer, 2006[8]
* Farlowella amazonum (Günther, 1864)
* Farlowella colombiensis Retzer & Page, 1997
* Farlowella curtirostra Myers, 1942
* Farlowella gracilis Regan, 1904
* Farlowella hahni Meinken, 1937
* Farlowella hasemani Eigenmann & Vance, 1917
* Farlowella henriquei Miranda-Ribeiro, 1918
* Farlowella isbruckeri Retzer & Page, 1997
* Farlowella jauruensis Eigenmann & Vance, 1917
* Farlowella knerii (Steindachner, 1882)
* Farlowella mariaelenae Martín Salazar, 1964
* Farlowella martini Fernández-Yépez, 1972
* Farlowella nattereri Steindachner, 1910
* Farlowella odontotumulus Retzer & Page, 1997
* Farlowella oxyrryncha (Kner, 1853)
* Farlowella paraguayensis Retzer & Page, 1997
* Farlowella platoryncha Retzer & Page, 1997
* Farlowella reticulata Boeseman, 1971
* Farlowella rugosa Boeseman, 1971
* Farlowella schreitmuelleri Ahl, 1937
* Farlowella smithi Fowler, 1913
* Farlowella taphorni Retzer & Page, 1997
* Farlowella venezuelensis Martín Salazar, 1964
* Farlowella vittata Myers, 1942


1. ^ 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. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2007f/zt01462p040.pdf.
2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). Species of Farlowella in FishBase. May 2007 version.
3. ^ a b "Farlowella acus". Scotcat.com. http://www.scotcat.com/factsheets/farlowella_acus.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-20.
4. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Farlowella smithi" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
5. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Farlowella nattereri" in FishBase. May 2007 version.
6. ^ a b Fenner, Robert. "The South (and Central) American Suckermouth Catfishes, Family Loricariidae". http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-20.
7. ^ "Farlowella". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=164357. Retrieved May 20, 2007.
8. ^ Retzer, Michael E. (2006). "A new species of Farlowella Eigenmann and Eigenmann (Siluriformes: Loricariidae), a stickcatfish from Bolivia" (PDF). Zootaxa 1282: 59–68. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2006f/zt01282p068.pdf.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License