v. 11.0 – 28 Jan. 2017  view/download PDF

4 genera/subgenera • 32 species

Bryconops Kner 1858    ops, appearance, apparently reflecting Kner’s belief that genus could be “classified with the hither related species of the genus Brycon” (translation)

Subgenus Bryconops          

Bryconops alburnoides Kner 1858    oides, having the form of: the European cyprinid genus Alburnus

Bryconops caudomaculatus (Günther 1864)    caudo-, tail; maculatus, spotted, referring to pair of large reddish spots on basal half of caudal fin

Bryconops collettei Chernoff & Machado-Allison 2005    in honor of Bruce B. Collette, Senior Systematic Zoologist, National Marine Fisheries Service, for “important” contributions to systematic ichthyology and to both author’s careers

Bryconops disruptus Machado-Allison & Chernoff 1997    broken off, referring to incomplete lateral line

Bryconops durbini (Eigenmann 1908)    in honor of Marion Durbin Ellis (née Durbin, 1887-1972), Eigenmann’s student and frequent collaborator in studying characid fishes, later a limnologist and environmental toxicologist, University of Missouri in Columbia

Bryconops gracilis (Eigenmann 1908)    slender, presumably referring to elongate, slightly compressed body

Bryconops magoi Chernoff & Machado-Allison 2005    in memory of Francisco Mago-Leccia (1931-2004), “pioneer of modern ichthyological studies in Venezuela”

Bryconops piracolina Wingert & Malabarba 2011    referring to Igarapé Piracolina, rio Madeira basin, Brazil, type locality

Bryconops tocantinensis Guedes, Oliveira & Lucinda 2016    –ensis, suffix denoting place: rio Tocantins drainage, Brazil, where it is currently known to occur

Subgenus Creatochanes Günther 1864    etymology not explained, presumably kreas, flesh or meat; chanos, gape or open mouth, perhaps referring to toothless (i.e., fleshy) maxillary (“maxillary without teeth”) of B. affinis and B. melanurus (although at least one other publication says their maxillae are indeed toothed)

Bryconops affinis (Günther 1864)    related, i.e., “very similar” to B. melanurus

Bryconops colanegra Chernoff & Machado-Allison 1999    cola and negra, Spanish for tail and black, respectively, referring to black caudal fin

Bryconops colaroja Chernoff & Machado-Allison 1999    cola and roja, Spanish for tail and red, respectively, referring to brilliant red tail

Bryconops cyrtogaster (Norman 1926)    cyrto-, curved; gaster, belly, referring to “distinctly convex” ventral profile

Bryconops humeralis Machado-Allison, Chernoff & Buckup 1996    pertaining to shoulder, referring to black humeral blotch

Bryconops giacopinii (Fernández-Yépez 1950)    in honor of Jose A. Giacopini, Governor, Amazonas State of Venezuela, an “old friend” (translation) who sponsored an archaeological expedition during which type was collected

Bryconops imitator Chernoff & Machado-Allison 2002    mimic, referring to its similarity to B. colaroja

Bryconops inpai Knöppel, Junk & Géry 1968    of INPA, acronym for Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, which houses the type material and placed it at the authors’ disposal

Bryconops melanurus (Bloch 1794)    mela-, black; urus, tail, referring to broad black stripe on caudal fin

Bryconops munduruku Silva-Oliveira, Canto & Ribeiro 2015    named for the Munduruku Indians who settled on the right margin of the Tapajós River, giving rise to what today is the city of Aveiro, Pará, Brazil, type locality

Bryconops transitoria (Steindachner 1915)    transitional; proposed as a variety of B. melanurus, Steindachner hypothesized that this taxon was one of “numerous transitions” or “extreme color varieties” (translations) among a highly variable B. melanurus that might encompass B. affinis as well

Bryconops vibex Machado-Allison, Chernoff & Buckup 1996    Latin for mark, referring to humeral blotch

Iguanodectes Cope 1872    iguana, lizard; dectes, biter, allusion not explained nor evident (referring to lizard-like dentition?)

Iguanodectes adujai Géry 1970    of the Rio Adujá, middle Rio Negro drainage, Brazil, type locality (also occurs in Río Orinoco drainage, Venezuela)

Iguanodectes geisleri Géry 1970    in honor of German biologist and aquarist Rolf Geisler (1925-2012), who collected type

Iguanodectes gracilis Géry 1993    slender, referring to its small size and slender shape

Iguanodectes polylepis Géry 1993    poly, many; lepis, scale, having the most lateral-line scales in the genus

Iguanodectes purusii (Steindachner 1908)    of the Rio Purus, Brazil, type locality (also occurs in Peru)

Iguanodectes rachovii Regan 1912    in honor of German aquarist Arthur Rachow, who presented type to the British Museum (Natural History)

Iguanodectes spilurus (Günther 1864)    spilos, spot; oura, tail, referring to large, rounded, deep-black spot on basal portion of caudal fin

Iguanodectes variatus Géry 1993    spotted, referring to mottling (“des marbrures”) on the bodies of adults

Piabucus Oken 1817    latinization of piabucu, local name for various small characiform fishes in 17th-century Brazil

Piabucus caudomaculatus Vari 1977   caudo-, tail; maculatus, spotted, referring to dark spot at base of middle caudal-fin rays and center of caudal peduncle

Piabucus dentatus (Koelreuter 1763)    toothed, referring to 16 short, blunt, subtriangular teeth at end of each mandible; since this is one of the earliest characiforms to be described, its original name (Trutta dentata) may reflect the18th-century notion that it was a toothed salmon or trout based on presence of adipose fin

Piabucus melanostoma Holmberg 1891    melano-, black; stoma, mouth, referring to black lower lip and chin

Family TRIPORTHEIDAE Keeled Characins
5 genera • 21 species


Triportheus Cope 1872    tri-, three; portheus, ravager or destroyer, probably an allusion to three series of teeth on premaxillary (in 1871, Cope described Portheus, a fossil fish genus from Kansas, USA, noting its “uncommonly powerful offensive dentition”)

Triportheus albus Cope 1872    albus, white, presumably referring to “silver-white” sides and belly

Triportheus angulatus (Spix & Agassiz 1829)    angled, referring to keel-shaped abdomen

Triportheus auritus (Valenciennes 1850)    eared, referring to larger operculum compared to T. brachipomus, described in the same publication

Triportheus brachipomus (Valenciennes 1850)    brachys, short; poma, lid or covering, referring to smaller operculum compared to T. auritus, described in the same publication

Triportheus culter (Cope 1872)    knife, referring to knife-like shape of body

Triportheus curtus (Garman 1890)    short, proposed as a subspecies of T. angulatus distinguished by the “shortness of its body”

Triportheus guentheri (Garman 1890)    in honor of ichthyologist-herpetologist Albert Günther (1830-1914), who identified this species as Chalcinus (=Triportheus) brachypomus (note spelling, with a y instead of an i) in 1864

Triportheus magdalenae (Steindachner 1878)    of the Río Magdalena, Cienaga, Colombia, type locality (and endemic to Río Magdalena basin)

Triportheus nematurus (Kner 1858)    nemato-, thread; urus, tail, referring to prolonged middle rays of caudal fin

Triportheus orinocensis Malabarba 2004    ensis, suffix denoting place: Río Orinoco basin, Venezuela, where it is endemic

Triportheus pantanensis Malabarba 2004    ensis, suffix denoting place: Pantanal de Mato Grosso, Brazil, where it commonly occurs

Triportheus pictus (Garman 1890)    painted or colored, presumably referring to light bands of color on pectoral fins and/or middle rays of caudal fin

Triportheus rotundatus (Jardine 1841)    rounded, referring to rounded abdomen compared to angular abdomen of T. angulatus

Triportheus signatus (Garman 1890)    marked, presumably referring to transverse band of light color on caudal fin

Triportheus trifurcatus (Castelnau 1855)    tri-, three; furcatus, forked, referring to how prolonged middle rays of caudal fin create a three-pronged tail

Triportheus venezuelensis Malabarba 2004    ensis, suffix denoting place: Venezuela, country drained by the Río Orinoco basin, where it is endemic

Subfamily AGONIATINAE    

Agoniates Müller & Troschel 1845    etymology not explained, presumably a-, without; gonia, corner or angle, allusion not evident

Agoniates anchovia Eigenmann 1914    referring to its anchovy-like appearance

Agoniates halecinus Müller & Troschel 1845    shad-like, referring to its herring-like shape

Engraulisoma Castro 1981    engraulis, anchovy; soma, body, referring to anchovy-like shape

Engraulisoma taeniatum Castro 1981    band, probably referring to silver band on sides

Lignobrycon Eigenmann & Myers 1929    lignum, wood, proposed as a genus for a fossil species, Tetragonpterus ligniticus Woodward 1898, described from Tertiary lignite deposits of Sao Paulo, Brazil; brycon, generalized term used in generic names of many characiform fishes, derived from bryco, to bite, gnash teeth or eat greedily, originally an allusion to fully toothed maxillae

Lignobrycon myersi (Miranda Ribeiro 1956)    in honor of ichthyologist George S. Myers (1905-1985), Stanford University, California, USA


Clupeacharax Pearson 1924    clupea, herring or clupeiform fish, referring to its anchovy-like shape; Charax, typical genus of the Characiformes, from Greek word meaning “palisade of pointed sticks,” referring to densely packed sharp teeth, now a common root-name formation in the order

Clupeacharax anchoveoides Pearson 1924    oides: having the form of: an anchovy, referring to its shape and appearance

4 genera • 50 species

Subfamily BRYCONINAE  

Brycon Müller & Troschel 1844    bryco, to bite, gnash teeth or eat greedily, presumably referring to their fully toothed maxillae

Brycon alburnus (Günther 1860)    Latin for whitefish, from albus, white, presumably referring to silvery coloration

Brycon amazonicus (Spix & Agassiz 1829)    Amazonian, described from the Amazon River in Brazil (also occurs in Colombia, Guyana and Venezuela)

Brycon argenteus Meek & Hildebrand 1913     silvery, referring to its coloration, without lines or bands

Brycon atrocaudatus (Kner 1863)    atro-, black; caudatus, tailed, referring to broad black band at end of caudal fin

Brycon behreae Hildebrand 1938    in honor of marine biologist Ellinor H. Behre (1886-1982), who collected type

Brycon chagrensis (Kner 1863)    –ensis, suffix denoting place: Río Chagres, Atlantic slope of Panama, type locality (also endemic to the Río Chagres basin)

Brycon coquenani Steindachner 1915    of the Río Coquenan, Venezuela, type locality

Brycon costaricensis Angulo & Gracian-Negrete 2013    ensis, suffix denoting place: Atlantic Slope of Costa Rica, type locality (also occurs in Nicaragua)

Brycon coxeyi Fowler 1943    in honor of entomologist W. Judson Coxey, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, who “obtained” type

Brycon dentex Günther 1860    with large teeth, presumably referring to four series of intermaxillary teeth, with nearly all the upper-jaw teeth exposed

Brycon devillei (Castelnau 1855)    in honor of physician, naturalist and taxidermist Emile Deville (1824-1853), Castelnau’s “unfortunate travel companion who, having escaped the horrors [e.g., mosquitoes and other insect or spider bites] of Ucayali [River in Peru], died of yellow fever in Rio de Janeiro” (translation)

Brycon dulcis Lima & Vieira 2017    sweet (doce in Portuguese), referring to rio Doce basin, states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, eastern Brazil, where is apparently endemic

Brycon falcatus Müller & Troschel 1844    sickle-shaped, referring to falcate black spot on tail

Brycon ferox Steindachner 1877   fierce, presumably referring to fearsome appearance of its large intermaxillary teeth

Brycon fowleri Dahl 1955    in honor of Dahl’s friend Ernest L. Fowler (1907-1966), an American missionary in Colombia (later murdered by a band of thieves posing as policemen) for his “generous help and encouragement”

Brycon gouldingi Lima 2004    in honor of conservation ecologist Michael Goulding, for his contributions to the knowledge of Amazonian fishes

Brycon guatemalensis Regan 1908    ensis, suffix denoting place: Guatemala, type locality (but widely distributed throughout Central America)

Brycon henni Eigenmann 1913    in honor of Eigenmann’s student (and successor) Arthur Wilbur Henn (1890-1959), “at the moment exploring the rivers of Western Colombia”

Brycon hilarii (Valenciennes 1850)    in honor of French botanist Auguste de Saint-Hilaire (1779-1853), who collected type

Brycon howesi Lima 2017    in honor of Gordon J. Howes (1938-2013), Natural History Museum (London), for his “important contribution to the knowledge of the taxonomy of the genus Brycon as well as for ichthyology as a whole”

Brycon insignis Steindachner 1877    distinct or conspicuous, allusion not explained, but Steindachner did indicate it is distinct (among congeners known at the time) in having more slender and widely spaced teeth, and that two second-row teeth next to the mandibular symphysis (supposedly characteristic of Brycon) are often absent

Brycon labiatus Steindachner 1879    lipped, referring to external flap on lower lip

Brycon medemi Dahl 1960    in honor of Federico (Fred) Medem (1912-1984), Professor of Herpetology, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, for his “great” contributions to the knowledge of Colombian aquatic reptiles

Brycon meeki Eigenmann & Hildebrand 1918    in honor of the late Seth Eugene Meek (1859-1914), who described two species of Brycon with Hildebrand in 1913

Brycon melanopterus (Cope 1872)     melanos, black; pterus, fin, referring to black band at base of anal fin that extends through caudal peduncle along middle of upper caudal-fin lobe to its end

Brycon moorei Steindachner 1878    patronym not identified, nor can identity be inferred from available information (could this be named after the same person Steindachner honored with the doradid catfish name Oxydoras [=Hemidoras] morei [note spelling] in 1881?)

Brycon nattereri Günther 1864    patronym not identified but probably in honor of Johann Natterer (1787-1843), who explored South America and collected specimens for 18 years

Brycon obscurus Hildebrand 1938    dark, referring to dusky blotch on opercle, elongate black spot at base of caudal fin, dusky chromatophores on fins, and/or “obscure dusky lateral band” (this latter feature only on small specimens)

Brycon oligolepis Regan 1913    oligos, few; lepis, scale, having fewer scales compared to the similar B. moorei

Brycon opalinus (Cuvier 1819)    opaline or opalescent, referring to its “nice opal luster” (translation) in the light, even on dried specimens

Brycon orbignyanus (Valenciennes 1850)    anus, belonging to: naturalist Alcide d’Orbigny (1802-1857), who collected type

Brycon orthotaenia Günther 1864    orthos, straight; taenia, band, referring to “straight, broad band” that runs along middle of “free portion” of tail and along middle caudal-fin rays

Brycon pesu Müller & Troschel 1845    local name for this species in 19th-century Guyana

Brycon petrosus Meek & Hildebrand 1913    rocky, allusion not explained; based on a comment made by Hildebrand in 1938, probably referring to its rocky creek habitat

Brycon polylepis Mosco Morales 1988    poly, many; lepis, scale, referring to higher number of lateral line scales compared to congeners in Venezuela

Brycon posadae Fowler 1945    in honor of physician-naturalist Andres Posada (1839-1922, also known as Andrés Posada-Arango), author of a 1909 work on Colombian fishes

Brycon rubricauda Steindachner 1879    rubri-, red; cauda, tail, referring to “cherry-red” (translation) markings on caudal fin

Brycon sinuensis Dahl 1955    ensis, suffix denoting place: Sinú River basin, Colombia, where it is endemic

Brycon stolzmanni Steindachner 1879    in honor of Polish ornithologist Jean Stolzmann (1854-1928, also spelled Jan Sztolcman), who collected type

Brycon striatuluis (Kner 1863)    diminutive of stria, furrow, referring to oblique brown-black streaks or spots on sides

Brycon unicolor Mosco Morales 1988    uni-, one, referring to uniform coloration, without spots or blotches

Brycon vermelha Lima & Castro 2000    Portuguese for red-colored, referring to life coloration of dorsal, adipose and caudal fins, and to a lesser degree anal and pelvic fins

Brycon vonoi Lima 2017    in honor of “dear” colleague and friend Volney Vono (1961-2011), the first ichthyologist to collect this species and who brought it to Lima’s attention

Brycon whitei Myers & Weitzman 1960    in honor of General Thomas D. White (1901-1965), Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, an ardent aquarist who helped collect type, for his contributions to ichthyology and angling

Chilobrycon Géry & de Rham 1981    cheilos, lip, allusion not explained, an odd choice since its one species lacks an upper lip; brycon, generalized term used in generic names of many characiform fishes, derived from bryco, to bite, gnash teeth or eat greedily, originally an allusion to fully toothed maxillae

Chilobrycon deuterodon Géry & de Rham 1981    deutero, to repeat; odon, tooth, allusion not explained nor evident, perhaps referring to how its trilobed, spatulate teeth are similar to (i.e., repeating) those of Henochilus, a “remarkable convergence” (translation) based on their similar herbivorous diets

Henochilus Garman 1890    heno-, one; cheilos, lip, i.e., single lip, referring to lip on lower jaw, but absent on upper

Henochilus wheatlandii Garman 1890    in honor of Henry Wheatland (1812-1893), President, Essex Institute (Salem, Mass., USA, which published the description), for his “friendly interest and sympathy in favor of ichthyology and ichthyologists”                        


Salminus Agassiz 1829    salmon-like, referring to their shape (including adipose fin)

Salminus affinis Steindachner 1880    related, referring to resemblance with S. cuvieri (=brasiliensis)

Salminus brasiliensis (Cuvier 1816)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Brazil, where type specimen was collected (also occurs in Paraguay, Uraguay, Bolivia and Argentina)

Salminus franciscanus Lima & Britski 2007    anus, belonging to: rio São Francisco basin, Brazil, where it is endemic

Salminus hilarii Valenciennes 1850    in honor of French botanist Auguste de Saint-Hilaire (1779-1853), who collected type

Family CHALCEIDAE                                

Chalceus Cuvier 1818    copper, or “occasionally golden” (“quelquefois à la dorée”) per Cuvier, referring to “golden brown” (translation) scales of C. macrolepidotus

Chalceus epakros Zanata & Toledo-Piza 2004    Greek for “pointed at the end,” referring to relatively longer and more acute snout compared to congeners

Chalceus erythrurus (Cope 1870)    erythros, red; urus, tail, referring to red caudal fin

Chalceus guaporensis Zanata & Toledo-Piza 2004    ensis, suffix denoting place: Rio Guaporé, Bolivia, one of three rivers in which it occurs (the other two are in Brazil and Peru)

Chalceus macrolepidotus Cuvier 1818    macro-, large; lepidotus, scaled, referring to its “extremely large” (translation) scales

Chalceus spilogyros Zanata & Toledo-Piza 2004    spilos, spot; gyros, circle or round, referring to rounded humeral spot

Family GASTEROPELECIDAE Freshwater Hatchetfishes
3 genera · 9 species

Carnegiella Eigenmann 1909    iella, diminutive connoting endearment: in honor of Margaret Carnegie (1897-1990), only child of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), whose Carnegie Museum co-sponsored Eigenmann’s 1908 expedition to British Guiana and published his report

Carnegiella marthae Myers 1927    in honor of Myers’ first wife, Martha Ruth

Carnegiella myersi Fernández-Yépez 1950    in honor of Stanford University ichthyologist George S. Myers (1905-1985), for “extensive contributions” to the knowledge of South American fishes

Carnegiella schereri Fernández-Yépez 1950    in honor of William G. Scherer, Evangelical Mission at Pebas, Peru, who collected type and provided “magnificent help with his collection of fishes from the Peruvian Amazon”

Carnegiella strigata (Günther 1864)    streaked, presumably referring to four blackish bands radiating from of middle of convex edge of thorax

Gasteropelecus Scopoli 1777    gaster, belly; pelecus, axe, referring to distinctive hatchet-shaped thorax

Gasteropelecus levis (Eigenmann 1909)    smooth or bald, presumably referring to absence of maxillary teeth

Gasteropelecus maculatus Steindachner 1879    spotted, referring to numerous small black or gray spots on sides

Gasteropelecus sternicla (Linnaeus 1758)    sternon, breast, referring to deep, trenchant thorax; –icla, perhaps a misspelling of –icula, an adjectival suffix

Thoracocharax Fowler 1907    thorax, breastplate or cuirass, referring to distinctive hatchet-shaped body; Charax, typical genus of the Characiformes, from Greek word meaning “palisade of pointed sticks,” referring to densely packed sharp teeth, now a common root-name formation in the order

Thoracocharax securis (De Filippi 1853)    Latin for ax or hatchet, referring to shape of thorax

Thoracocharax stellatus (Kner 1858)    starry, referring to scales of upper 3-4 longitudinal rows, referring to circular scale radii, which form a “a peculiar beautiful star-like drawing” (translation)