The genus Hypoptopoma comprises small to medium sized loricariids. The largest species known becomes about 10 cm long. At the first glimpse they look much alike a Otocinclus, but larger. Typical for members of Hypoptopoma is the position of the eyes. They are placed in way at the side of the head that the fish can look over almost 360° when it sits on a plant. This feature can be found among the loricariids only in Hypoptopoma and Oxyropsis. The latter, however, has a flattened caudal peduncle, while in Hypoptopoma the caudal peduncle is oval in cross section.
Sadly determination of species of Hypoptopoma is a tricky thing, although in 2010 a throughout taxonomical revision of the genus was published. Last week we obtained a species of Hypoptopoma from Peru which we had not seen before. The pattern of the caudal fin seemed to be very characteristic and led to the determination of Hypoptopoma psilogaster. Now the fish are very well settled and things look not that definite anymore. But the place of origin fits to H. psilogaster. Maybe our fish represent even a mix of very similar species. Anyway: these are pretty algae eaters and a nice relief!
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Text & photos: Frank Schäfer