Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Lebiasinidae (Pencilfishes)

Copella arnoldi

 DISTRIBUTION: Amazon Basin.

 HABITAT: Slow-moving fresh water.

 APPEARANCE: Males tend to be larger and more colorful than females and have more elaborate fins. Max. length: 3.4 cm. 

 DIET: Worms, insects, and crustaceans.

 REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: The unusual behavior of the splashing tetra provides a unique strategy that keeps aquatic predators away from progeny: The male and female will leap out of the water as a pair, both remaining together while the female attaches her eggs to the leaves of plants at the water’s edge and the male then immediately fertilizes them. This procedure is repeated several times until 50 to 200 eggs have been laid. After attachment, the male, now in the water, faithfully flicks his tail every few minutes, shedding droplets of water onto the eggs to keep them moist. After 2 to 3 days the eggs hatch and the fry fall into the water below. The male’s attention then abates and the young tetras are on their own.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Life span: about 3 years.

 REMARKS: In spite of their common name, they are not closely related to true tetras of the family Characidae found in a variety of other Steinhart exhibits.