A complete study of the early ontogeny of the cranial muscles of Corydoras aeneus (Callichthyidae) was undertaken and results were compared with those for the loricariid Ancistrus cf. triradiatus. This comparison reveals a high degree of similarity in the ontogeny of both species' cranial muscles. Both species lack a musculus protractor hyoidei, and the musculus intermandibularis posterior is divided into two different parts that have partly obtained a novel function (serving the lower lip) in A. cf. triradiatus. A similar increase in muscular complexity in this species is found in the dorsal constrictor of the hyoid muscle plate. This constrictor gives rise to the same muscles in both C. aeneus and A. cf. triradiatus, but in A. cf. triradiatus the musculus levator operculi later hypertrophies. In C. aeneus the musculus extensor tentaculi forms a single muscle diverging posteriorly, whereas in A. cf. triradiatus the musculus extensor tentaculi differentiates into two separate bundles. Also, a loricariid neoformation is present called the musculus levator tentaculi.