So, just what is a "Cichlid"?

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So, just what is a "Cichlid"?

Post by cancichfan on Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:22 am

If you had asked me a couple months ago to tell you what a cichlid was, I would have said it was a fish from one of the Rift Valley lakes in Africa. I may have mumbled something about mouthbrooding or maybe the double sets of jaws but I certainly would have said that geography was one of the defining characteristics of a cichlid.

But now, after spending some time learning about them, I am curious to discover what is the feature that really defines a cichlid? How can you have fish from both South America and Africa that are both cichlids? Where do Oscars fit into this? Red Devils, Convicts etc? What makes them cichlids? Same for Madagascar and other areas of the world that have fish that are listed, at least here and on other sites, as cichlids? Do they all belong to the same family? I can understand how radiant and divergent evolution led to the hundreds of species we see in Africa but how do the New World and Far East cichlids fit into this? What characteristics define a cichlid? Are there North American cichlids (or fish that fit the criteria)?

What do they have in common that makes them cichlids?

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Re: So, just what is a "Cichlid"?

Post by poolmako on Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:28 am

im going to take as stab at part of this, cichlids are the largest family of fish in the world and its easy to see how they got from africa to south america if you look at a global map you can see how when the planet was much younger that the two countries where one large land mass and we know that at different times large bodys of water have covered most of the land on the planet, thats how i think they got to all the different parts of the world.
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Re: So, just what is a "Cichlid"?

Post by theswede on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:50 am

"A cichlid is a fish which has (1) a single nostril on each side of its head, (2) a lateral line which is broken (interrupted) into two lines (one is usually slightly higher and starts just behind the head) than the other (which usually starts about mid-body and continues to just before the start of the caudal (tail) fin), (3) from 20 to, sometimes, more than 100 scales in the lateral line, (4) 7 to 25 spines and 5 to 30 soft rays in its dorsal (top) fin, (5) 3 to 15 spines and 4 to more than 30 soft rays in its anal (bottom, unpaired fin) and a couple of other minor characteristics that help distinguish cichlids from other, closely related, Perciform (perch-like) fishes."

Quotation from the page:

http://www.aquascienceresearch.com/APInfo/Cichlid.htm
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Re: So, just what is a "Cichlid"?

Post by cancichfan on Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:56 am

theswede wrote:"A cichlid is a fish which has (1) a single nostril on each side of its head, (2) a lateral line which is broken (interrupted) into two lines (one is usually slightly higher and starts just behind the head) than the other (which usually starts about mid-body and continues to just before the start of the caudal (tail) fin), (3) from 20 to, sometimes, more than 100 scales in the lateral line, (4) 7 to 25 spines and 5 to 30 soft rays in its dorsal (top) fin, (5) 3 to 15 spines and 4 to more than 30 soft rays in its anal (bottom, unpaired fin) and a couple of other minor characteristics that help distinguish cichlids from other, closely related, Perciform (perch-like) fishes."

Quotation from the page:

http://www.aquascienceresearch.com/APInfo/Cichlid.htm

Oh... of course, the broken double lateral line...makes perfect sense now. I feel so silly for not counting the scales either. Laughing

Thanks Swede and Poolmako for the feedback. I understand better now.
Graham

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Re: So, just what is a "Cichlid"?

Post by Splash on Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:07 pm

great info
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Re: So, just what is a "Cichlid"?

Post by iceblue on Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:52 pm

Here you go. Get out your advanced college fish anatomy book. coffee
http://www.malawicichlids.com/mw17006.htm
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