a suborder of fishes of the order Cypriniformes. The body length ranges from 2.5 cm to 1.5 m. The Characinoidei differ from the Cyprinoidei by the presence of an adipose fin and maxillary teeth and by the absence of pharyngeal teeth. The suborder comprises about 1,350 species, which are usually grouped into six or seven (sometimes 16) families.
The Characinoidei are distributed only in freshwaters of South America (except the southernmost tip), Central America (as far north as Texas), and Africa. Most are carnivorous; some are herbivorous or omnivorous. Fertilization is external; some species are viviparous. Spawning occurs in the spring, summer, and fall. The eggs are deposited on plants or rocks or in the surface foam of the water. Many species guard their eggs.
Large species are objects of local fishing. Many small species are raised in aquariums.
REFERENCESNikol’skii, G. V. Chastnaia ikhtiologiia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1971.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.