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Cichlids, Mouth-brooders

Compiler and date details

24 May 2017 - Matthew M. Lockett, Douglass F. Hoese, Dianne J. Bray, Gerald R. Allen & Connie J. Allen

Gerald R. Allen, Connie J. Allen & Douglass F. Hoese


Cichlids occur naturally in North America, Central America, South America, Madagascar and Africa to India. Worldwide, approximately 112 genera and around 1,350 species are currently known (Nelson 2006). In Australia, cichlids do not occur naturally, but at least 14 genera and 18 species have been found in the wild. We include here all species known from the wild, although most are believed not to have become established. However, the continued release of species could eventually lead to establishment of some of these species. Recent molecular studies have changed the generic classification significantly. Many species were previously placed in Tilapia and Cichlasoma, but have recently been moved to other genera. The classification is in a state of flux and names changes are likely to continue.

Cichlids are popular aquarium fishes and a much larger number of species are found in the Australian aquarium trade. Accidental and intentional releases occur frequently (McKay 1984), and introductions of cichlids in tropical regions of Australia have had adverse effects on native fishes (Arthington et al. 1983). Although most species are found in fresh water, some have a high salt tolerance and can spread rapidly through marine environments. Some species have been deliberately introduced as food fishes in many parts of the world.

As a group, cichlids have been much studied. They are noted as examples of major radiations into species flocks in several African rift lakes over relatively short geological time periods. For example, over 150 species are endemic to Lake Victoria and are believed to have evolved in less than a million years (Greenwood 1975). Relationships of the family are discussed by Stiassny (1981). Molecular studies have placed the family in the order Cichliformes and suggested it is not related to other labroid fishes (Betancur et al 2013).


General References

Agassiz, J.L.R. in Spix, J.B. von & Agassiz, J.L.R. 1829. Selecta genera et species piscium quos in itinere per Brasiliam annos MDCCCXVII-MDCCCXX jussu et auspiciis Maximiliani Josephi I… colleget et pingendso curavit Dr J. B. de Spix…. Monachii. Selecta Piscium Brasiliam. Part 1. 1-82 pls 1-48

Arthington, A.H., Milton, D.A. & McKay, R.J. 1983. Effects of urban development and habitat alterations on the distribution and abundance of native and exotic freshwater fish in the Brisbane region, Queensland. Australian Journal of Ecology 8(2): 87-101

Betancur-R, R., Broughton, R.E., Wiley, E.O., Carpenter, K., López, J.A., Li, C., Holcroft, N.I., Arcila, D., Sanciangco, M., Cureton, II J.C., Zhang, F., Buser, T &, Campbell, M.A., Ballesteros, J.A., Roa-Varon, A., Willis, S., Borden, W.C., Rowley, T., Reneau, P.C., Hough, D.J., Lu, G., Grande, T., Arratia, G. & Ortí, G. 2013. The tree of life and a new classification of bony fishes. PLOS Currents Tree of Life Edition 1: doi: 10.1371/currents.tol.53ba26640df0ccaee75bb165c8c26288

Brind, W. L. 1918. A new subspecies of Thorichthys helleri. Aquatic Life 3: 119-120

Corfield, J., Diggles, B., Jubb, C., McDowall, R.M., Moore, A., Richards, A. & Rowe, D.K. 2008. Review of the impacts of introduced ornamental fish species that have established wild populations in Australia. Prepared for the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 277 pp.

Gill, T.N. 1862. On the West African genus Hemichromis and descriptions of new species in the museums of the Academy and Smithsonian Institution. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 14: 134-139

Greenwood, P.H. 1975. A History of Fishes. London : Ernest Benn Ltd 467 pp.

Günther, A. 1860. Second list of cold-blooded vertebrata collected by Mr. Fraser in the Andes of western Ecuador. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1859(3): 402-420

Günther, A. 1864. Report of a collection of fishes made by Messrs. Dow, Godman, and Salvin in Guatemala. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1864(1): 144-154

Günther, A. 1867. On the fishes of the states of Central America, founded upon specimens collected in fresh and marine waters of various parts of that country by Messrs. Salvin and Godman and Capt. J. M. Dow. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866(3): 600-604

Günther, A. 1894. Descriptions of the reptiles and fishes collected by Mr. E. Coode-Hore on Lake Tanganyika. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1893(4): 628-632

Heckel, J.J. 1840. Johann Natterer's neue Flussfische Brasilien's nach den Beobachtungen und Mittheilungen des Entdeckers beschrieben (Erste Abtheilung, Die Labroiden). Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien 2: 325-471

Hubbs, C.L. 1935. Fresh-water fishes collected in British Honduras and Guatemala. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 28: 1-22

McKay, R.J. 1984. Introductions of exotic fishes in Australia. pp. 177-199 in Courtnay, W.R. Jr & Staffer, J.R. Jr (eds). Distribution, Biology and Management of Exotic Fishes. Baltimore : John Hopkins University Press.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Quoy, J.R.C. & Gaimard, J.P. 1824. Chapter 8. Poissons. 183-328 pls 43-65 in Freycinet, L.C.D. de (ed.). Voyage autour du Monde, entrepris par ordre du Roi, exécuté sur les corvettes de S.M. Uranie et la Physicienne, pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820. Paris : Pillet Aîné Vol. 1 712 pp. 96 pls.

Steindachner, F. 1864. Ichthyologische Mittheilungen. (VII.). Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 14: 223-232

Stiassny, M.L.J. 1981. The phyletic status of the family Cichlidae (Pisces, Perciformes): a comparative anatomical investigation. Netherlands Journal of Zoology 31(2): 275-314


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
27-Jul-2017 LABROIDEI 24-May-2017 MODIFIED Dr Dianne Bray (NMV) Dr Doug Hoese (AM) Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
12-Feb-2010 (import)