Bird Families

Ribbon (striped) leporin: description and content


Toothed partridge (Odontophoridae (Gould, 1844)), or tree chickens, - a family of birds from the order of chickens (Galliformes), which are found in America, replace the partridges of the Old World in the New World.

The jagged partridge owes its name to its strong and denticulate beak. Representatives of the family are medium-sized or small motley-colored birds, quite reminiscent of the shape of their body partridges, and in their way of life occupying a middle place between them and grouse.


In tree chickens, the nostrils are covered with bare scales, and the metatarsus are covered with shields. In contrast to the partridge, the mandibles of tree chickens are equipped with two teeth on each side. In size, jagged partridges are larger than partridges in the Old World, and their plumage is painted in brighter colors.


Toothed partridges are found exclusively in the New World. Their range stretches from Canada to northeastern Argentina. Of the 31 species of the family, only six are common on the North American continent.


They lead a monogamous lifestyle, and build their nests in dense thickets. One clutch contains, as a rule, from twelve to fifteen eggs.


Earlier, the toothed-billed partridges were allocated into a subfamily (Latin Odontophorinae), to which about 50 species were numbered. According to the modern classification, the family includes nine genera and 31 species:

  • Genus Scaled Quail (Callipepla)
    • Douglas crested quail (Callipepla douglasii)
    • Helmet-crested quail (Callipepla gambelii)
    • California crested quail (Callipepla californica)
    • Scaly quail (Callipepla squamata)
  • Genus American partridge (Colinus)
    • Virginia ptarmigan (Colinus virginianus)
    • Black-throated partridge (Colinus nigrogularis)
    • White-breasted partridge (Colinus leucopogon)
    • Crested partridge (Colinus cristatus)
  • Genus Crying Quail (Cyrtonyx)
    • Weeping Quail Montezuma (Cyrtonyx montezumae)
    • Crying quail (Cyrtonyx ocellatus)
  • Genus Long-toed quail (Dactylortyx)
    • Long-toed quail (Dactylortyx thoracicus)
  • Genus Forest partridges (Dendrortyx)
    • Bearded Ptarmigan (Dendrortyx barbatus)
    • Guatemalan Ptarmigan (Dendrortyx leucophrys)
    • Long-tailed wood grouse (Dendrortyx macroura)
  • Genus Forest Quail (Odontophorus)
    • Wild-winged forest quail (Odontophorus capueira)
    • Chestnut Forest Quail (Odontophorus hyperythrus)
    • Collar forest quail (Odontophorus strophium)
    • Marble forest quail (Odontophorus gujanensis)
    • Red-breasted forest quail (Odontophorus speciosus)
    • Red-faced forest quail (Odontophorus erythrops)
    • Black-eared forest quail (Odontophorus melanotis)
    • Black-backed forest quail (Odontophorus melanonotus)
    • Black-faced forest quail (Odontophorus atrifrons)
    • Spotted forest quail (Odontophorus balliviani)
    • Star-shaped forest quail (Odontophorus stellatus)
    • Black-capped forest quail (Odontophorus dialeucos)
    • Crested forest quail (Odontophorus guttatus)
    • Venezuelan forest quail (Odontophorus columbianus)
    • White-chinned forest quail (Odontophorus leucolaemus)
  • Genus Mountain quail (Oreortyx)
    • California mountain quail (Oreortyx pictus)
  • Genus striped quail (Philortyx)
    • Striped quail (Philortyx fasciatus)
  • Genus Long-legged quail (Rhynchortyx)
    • Long-legged quail (Rhynchortyx cinctus)


The genetically most studied members of the family are the Virginia Ptarmigan (Colinus virginianus), as well as the helmet-crested quail (Callipepla gambelii), which, in comparison with other species of the family, owns most of the deposited sequences - respectively, nucleotide and protein.

In 2014, genomic sequencing of the American Virginia partridge was carried out.


The fish was discovered at the end of the 18th century in the river systems of Central and South America, and is also widespread in the Amazon basin. They live in fast moving rivers. During the rainy season, they move to flooded forest areas. When the water recedes, fish often remain in ponds and backwaters. They feed mainly on algae, plant debris, worms, insects, and sometimes small fish.


In nature, this is a large fish, reaching a length of 30 cm, in an aquarium it is less - 15-18 cm, rarely grows up to 20 cm in length. Body color Tape (striped) leporin silvery yellow. 9-11 dark brown stripes run along the entire body to the caudal fin. The fins are large, well developed - transparent, often with a grayish tint. The female is fatter than the male. In color, it differs from him in an orange throat. Against the general background of the body of the fish, red snout and eyes stand out. At night, the body color changes to brown with subtle cream markings. When frightened or, conversely, during a serene sleep, a brown lattice appears on the body of the fish.

Keeping striped leporinus in the aquarium

As for the content in the aquarium, then striped leporinus very unpretentious to the conditions of detention. Despite this, today they are not often found in amateur aquariums.

Due to the large enough size for aquarium fish and a schooling lifestyle, an aquarium with a volume of at least 300 liters is needed to keep them. In such a spacious tank, with effective filtration and aeration, fish care is not difficult.
Water filtration should be powerful enough; an external filter with a capacity of at least 5 volumes per hour is best suited for this. This will allow maintaining the necessary bioregime in the aquarium, which, in turn, will protect the fish from possible diseases. In optimal conditions of detention leporinuses get sick quite rarely.

To make the interior of the aquarium more similar to its natural habitat, it is recommended to use coarse river sand with fallen leaves, snags and branches placed on it.

You can also place live aquatic plants in the aquarium, but there is a high probability that one day they will be eaten leporinus.
But with the right feeding striped leporinus hardly spoil the plants, especially if the aquarium is brightly lit and there is enough algal growth in it.
In such a tank leporinuses constantly "graze" keeping upside down in the water column.

The quality of the water is extremely important. Fish should not be placed in an aquarium in which biological equilibrium has not been established. The aquarium must be closed from above with a lid or cover glass, since representatives of all species leporinus often jump out of the water.

A large tank can contain a group of 6 or more fish. Flock leporinus looks spectacular in a large demonstration aquarium.
Hierarchical relationships are quickly established within the group.
Leporinus get along well with most non-aggressive species of fish of medium and large sizes such as: haracinids, loricaria, doradids, including aggressive cichlids of the great lakes of Africa.
Smaller species can fall prey to larger ones leporinus, and sluggish large fish run the risk of being left without fins.

The optimal parameters of the aquatic environment for keeping fish are as follows: temperature range from 20 to 28 ° C, pH from 5.0 to 7.5, hardness up to 12dGH

Regular water changes have a positive effect on growth rate striped leporinus.

Diet of striped leporinus

Leporinus omnivorous. In nature, they feed on algae, young reed shoots and other aquatic vegetation. Their diet also includes various small invertebrates. They also do not disdain fry of other fish.
In an aquarium leporinuses are not picky and usually eat all types of standard food, including dry and frozen, but at the same time, up to half of the diet should be plant-based food or flakes for herbivorous fish.
At the same time, feeds containing a large amount of protein should be avoided. A protein diet is indicated only for young juveniles.

When kept in soft water, the proportion of animal feed can be increased, but it should not exceed 30-40 percent of the diet.The abuse of mealworms, squid and shrimp meat can lead to obesity of the gonads, and therefore to infertility. As for food of plant origin, fish willingly eat lettuce, dandelion, nettle leaves (in winter you can give them fresh frozen), as well as canned green peas, etc.

Sexual dimorphism

Sexually mature females are somewhat larger than males and have a more rounded abdomen. Although this trait only works if the fish are raised together and mature at the same time. If you don't have a breeding goal leporinus, which is quite problematic. Then, for the maintenance of a school of fish, their sex is not so important.


Fish prefer plant foods. You can serve both specialized industrial feed from plant raw materials (vegetable flakes, dried algae plates, various granules, etc.), and homemade preparations from finely chopped spinach leaves, lettuce or young shoots of tender plants. If food is scarce, aquarium plants can be damaged.

Social behavior

Leporinus striped is quite peaceful, if it is contained in a group of at least 6 individuals of any species, with a smaller number, signs of aggression appear. This species is compatible with other fish of similar size and temperament, and poses a danger to small fish. A negative feature of Leporinus behavior is "love" for long fins, which they often gnaw off.

Breeding / reproduction

At home, there are no successful breeding experiments, since it is not possible to reproduce the conditions of the rainy season and the possibility of migration. Leporinus are caring parents; in nature, the male arranges a kind of nest, where the female lays eggs, and further protects it until the offspring appear.

Interesting Facts

This fish is also known as "Leporinus tapeworm", "Leporinus striped zebra", "Leporinus zebra". It is not uncommon for the fish to be sold without providing buyers with information about the potential adult size and care requirements. They can be found in almost all public aquariums. This genus includes many species that are outwardly similar to Leporinus, therefore it is often confused with other fish, for example, with Affinis.

According to the results of Makhnert's research (1997), Leporinus differs from Affinis in the following features: it has 6-7½ rows of scales between the lateral stripe and the dorsal fin (Affinis has 8-9 rows), 5-6 rows between the lateral stripe and the pelvic fin (Afinis has 6-8 rows), along the lateral line Leporinus has 40-45 scales (Affinis has 40-45 scales), from 8 (in young individuals) to 10 (in adults) wide and slightly oblique stripes ( Affinis has 8 perpendicular stripes). Also, the authors of the study argue that the anal fin in Affinis has a rounded and oblong shape. Also, it should be noted that Gunther (1864) counted 11 dark stripes on Leporinus. With age, the number of stripes increases. Young individuals have no more than 5 stripes.

New stripes appear as a result of separation every 6 months until the individual reaches puberty and the pattern is finally formed. Leporinus is one of the most diverse groups among the haracinforms, numbering about 90 species. In the course of a phylogenetic study, scientists Silauskas and Vari found that this group represents a single polyphyletic branch. Four species (H. despaxi, H. megalepis, H. mormyrops and H. pachycheilus) were assigned to the re-studied genus Hypomasticus, originally designated by Borodin (1929). The rest of the Leporinus species, with the exception of L. Gomesi, were combined into a group along with the Abramites, which was included in the large political system along with Anostomoides, Anostomus, Gnathodolus, Laemolyta, Petulanos, Pseudanos, Rhytiodus, Sartor, Schizodon and Synaptolaemus.

In particular, there was a paucity of data on genetic relationships within the Leporinus species during the study period, and the authors suggested that molecular research would be required to fully understand these relationships. Representatives of the anostomid family inhabit a significant territory of the tropical and subtropical regions of South America - from northwestern Colombia to central Argentina. Most species have a slightly elongated and slightly rounded body, although there are exceptions, such as relatively tall abramites. An even greater degree of diversity is manifested in the anatomy of the oral cavity. The members of the family show a large number of adaptations in terms of the structure of the teeth and jaws. Some anostomids do not swim horizontally, but at an angle, "upside down".