Appearance and Anatomy
As loricariids, loricariinae species are characterized by a depressed body covered by bony plates, a unique pair of maxillary barbels, and modification of the mouth into a suckermouth. Members of the subfamily Loricariinae show a greater diversity of lip structures and shapes than other loricariids. Loricariines are characterized by a long and depressed caudal peduncle (rectangular cross-section) and by the absence of an adipose fin. They also show dramatic variation in body shape, lip morphology and dentition. The sexual dimorphism is often pronounced and is expressed through the hypertrophy of odontodes on the pectoral fin rays, on the snout margin, and sometimes on the predorsal area of mature males. Certain genera also show sexual differences in lip and tooth structures.
The Harttiini are characterized by numerous and pedunculated teeth, a caudal fin with more branched rays, the absence of postorbital notches and predorsal keels, a rounded mouth, papillose lips weakly or not fringed, and short maxillary barbels. The Loricariini are characterized by a more important variation in lips and teeth shape, the frequent presence of postorbital notches and predorsal keels, longer maxillary barbels, and less numerous teeth and branched rays in the caudal fin.
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