Huge shake-up in cichlid taxonomy


Middle American cichlids have been subject to a long-overdue revision. We now have eight new genera of cichlids to learn, plus a heap of modifications to be aware of.

The revisions were published in 'Zootaxa' by the ichthyologist Caleb McMahon in August 2015, and used a mixture of morphological and DNA sequencing techniques to identify new classifications.

Some herichthyin fish have now been rediagnosed, with extra genera raised. The changes include:

Trichromis, represented by a single species, Trichromis salvini (formerly Cichlasoma or 'ex' Cichlasoma salvini), at long last.

Herotilapia is back with the single species Herotilapia multispinosa.

Mesoheros is a new genus containing three formerly Cichlasoma species, now named as M. festae, M. ornatus and M. atromaculatus.

Thorichthys now consists of eight species: T. affinis, T. aureus, T. callolepis, T. ellioti, T. meeki, T. pasionis and T. socolofi, with T. ellioti acting as the type species (though it is here regarded as a synonym of T. maculipinnis, so further work is still needed).

Theraps has been reorganised, now containing T. godmanni, T. intermedius, T. irregularis, T. micophthalmus and T. nourisatti.

Nosferatu is a genus that was raised earlier in the year, containing N. bartoni, N. labridens, N. molango, N pantostictus, N. pratinus and N. steindachneri.

Maskaheros incorporates fish formerly known in Paraneetroplus and Vieja, containing both M. argenteus and M. regani.

is left with eight species, containing V. bifasciata, V. breidohri, V. fenestrata, V. guttulata, V. hartwegi, V. maculicauda, V. melanura and V. zonata.

is reduced to three species, containing P. bulleri, P. gibbiceps, P. nebuliferus.

is also reduced, now with seven species, containing H. carpintis, H. cyanoguttatus, H. deppi, H. minckleyi, H. tamasopoensis, H. tepehua and H. teporatus.

Kihnichthys is a new genus with a single species, K. ufermanni (which has spent time in both the Vieja and Theraps camps).

Cincelichthys is also new, with two species, containing C. bocourti and C. pearsei.

Oscura changes the fish that was Theraps heterospilus, now becoming O. heterospila (note the change of species name, too).

is another new genus containing the singular C. grammodes.

replaces a couple of former Theraps species, containing R. coeruleus and R. lentiginosus.

And finally, Tomocichla now contains two species, T. asfraci and T. tuba.

Good luck getting to grips with them all!

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