Farlowella ID?

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vsw211
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Farlowella ID?

Post by vsw211 »

Wondering if anyone can help me ID this farlowella I got from my lfs. Tried my hand with the genus key but wasn't able to really get anything except for the fact that I think it has an incomplete median row of abdominal scutes. Was pretty sure they came in with a columbia import but it's been a while so not 100% sure.
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Shane
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Re: Farlowella ID?

Post by Shane »

Pretty sure this is F. vittata, but if you bought a group check them all as shipments sometimes contain mixed spp.

As Farlowella, like most Otocinclus, all sale for the same price under the same trade name Colombian exporters do not separate them by species.

-Shane
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Re: Farlowella ID?

Post by bekateen »

Hi vsw211,

I'm inclined towards based on the following key results from your photos:
0 b
1 a definitely an incomplete middle row of abdominal plates.
2 a
3 b
4 a

The only things I can't really tell from your photos is whether or not the eyes are below or above the head and whether your snout is wide enough to be the other option, . The snout-mouth length to head length ratio is right at 0.5 and the snout seems narrow to me. Given that these are just random photos of the fish in the tank, there can be a margin of error that might distort the measurement. A few pixels longer on the snout would have raised this above 0.5. As far as the eyes being elevated, that looks like it might not be true, but your side photo is not a truly "side" photo - it shows a slight dorsal angle to the view, so the eyes look lower on the head than they might be.

I don't know how common either of these species are among imports, so that might skew the answer too.

Cheers, Eric
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bekateen
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Re: Farlowella ID?

Post by bekateen »

Shane wrote: 06 Mar 2024, 20:09 Pretty sure this is F. vittata, but if you bought a group check them all as shipments sometimes contain mixed spp.

As Farlowella, like most Otocinclus, all sale for the same price under the same trade name Colombian exporters do not separate them by species.

-Shane
Shane, I trust your ID based on experience more than I do my own trying to use a key with aquarium photos, but the one thing that suggests to me that this isn't F. vittata is that F. vittata should have no medial abdominal scutes, and this fish appears to have an anterior medial abdominal scute (maybe 2 scutes, but I'm not as confident in what I'm seeing for the lower thing that looks like a second scute).
farlowella 2.png
Maybe it's not there and this is an optical illusion from the photo. Also, I don't know if this character is variable on F. vittata, but I know it is variable in some other species.

So... vsw211, maybe go with Shane's ID.

Cheers,
Eric
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vsw211
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Apr 2023, 08:02
My cats species list: 6 (i:0, k:6)
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Location 1: Vancouver
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Re: Farlowella ID?

Post by vsw211 »

Hey guys, thanks a lot for the suggestions. There's definitely at least one median scute, not an illusion. Only got this one guy for now but I was thinking of getting a few more in the future and decided to take a look at the genus key so I wouldn't get any accidental hybridization going on, I assumed it would be one of the more commonly kept species like vittata but the presence of the abdominal scutes threw me off as well. I've attached another sideview, does this help with the eye positioning?
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bekateen
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Re: Farlowella ID?

Post by bekateen »

I think the final ID will be difficult. If your store has a lot of the twig cats, ask them to catch all and put in a plastic holding box so you can see the belly. Buy any you find with the medial scute, until you have enough to form a group. That's what I'd do.

Good luck,
Eric
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Re: Farlowella ID?

Post by Shane »

To my mind it is a bit of an Occam's razor.

1) The seller was "pretty sure" they came from Colombia.
2) Most of the Farlowella trade in Colombia is centered in Villavicencio. The most common species in this area are F. vittata (two rows of belly scutes) and F. mariaelenae (3 rows of belly scutes).
3) I am not seeing any characteristic (rostrum length and width, caudal pigmentation, coloration) that differs from F. vittata.

F. mitoupibo is known from 3 small piedmont feeder rivers in a protected Colombian National Park in a seriously rugged and remote area. Pretty unlikely to show up in the trade. Just in case, I checked the original description and there are comparison photos between vittata, mariaelenae, and mitoupibo. Our fish looks the most like vittata in that photo.

Keys can, sometimes, be great. Sadly not so much for Farlowella. I love this quote in the description f F. mitoupibo...

"Species of Farlowella show little vari-ation in meristic characters."

-Shane
"My journey is at an end and the tale is told. The reader who has followed so faithfully and so far, they have the right to ask, what do I bring back? It can be summed up in three words. Concentrate upon Uganda."
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