Types of Crenicichla

Types of Crenicichla

Crenicichla Types

The genus Crenicichla contains more than one hundred species, which are divided into nine basic groups. Determining the exact species of a Crenicichla fish is often difficult, and the nine groups are therefore very useful since they are based on easily distinguishable physical characteristics. Even an aquarist with no more than a basic understanding of the Crenicichla genus can usually place an unknown Crenicichla fish into the right group, even if he or she would have a very hard time determining the exact species of the fish.

Crenicichla Acutirostris Group

The Acutirostris Group contains 9 Crenicichla species. Acutirostris species look somewhat similar to the more well known Crenicichlas of the Lugubris group, but an Acutirostris has a more slender body and a pointy head. Before reaching adulthood the Lugubris fish displays spots and stripes, while the young Acutirostris is completely without such patterns. The Acutirostris species are rarely imported to the United States.

Crenicichla Macrophthalma Group

This group contain just one single species; the Crenicichla macrophthalma. The Crenicichla macrophthalma has oddly enough been chosen as the type species of the genus Crenicichla, even though it is a dwarf species. Despite being a dwarf species this fish can reach a length of 8 inches, which makes it just as large as many non-dwarf Crenicichla species, e.g. the Crenicichlas from the Saxatilis group. Crenicichla macrophthalma can be easily recognised due to its huge eyes. It is a strictly nocturnal species.

Crenicichla Lacustris Group

This group is made up of 13 Crenicichla species. The Lacustris Group is not a very strictly defined group, and it is currently undergoing a large revision. In the wild, the Lacustris species can only be found in Southeast Brazil. All Lacustris species are without should spots.Both sexes typically display a diagonal stripe under their eyes. In many species the female Lacustris Crenicichla distinguish it self from the male by having a ringed blacked spot on her dorsal fin. A majority of the Crenicichla species in the Lacustris group is large, but there are exceptions to this rule, such as the Crenicichla jupiaensis which is a dwarf species.

Crenicichla Lugubris Group

The Lugubris Group is one of the larger Crenicichla groups and includes 16 species. The species in this group are the largest of all pikes. Crenicichlas in the Lugubris group are equipped with minute scales that give the body of the fish a very smooth look. A young Lugubris has a unique pattern of spots and stripes on its head. Mature Lugubris fish are often compared to salami.

Crenicichla Missioneira Group

The Missioneira Group is made up of 7 different Crenicichla species. You can only find wild Missioneira cichlids in Rio Uruguay. Crenicichlas from the Missioneira group have an extraordinary suborbital spotted marking. Female Missioneira cichlids sometimes display a dorsal fin spot.

Crenicichla Reticulata Group

13 species are included in the Reticulata Group. These species used to be included in the genus Batrachops, but are today considered a part of the genus Crenicichla instead. Four of the Reticulata cichlids are commonly known as Froghead Pikes, and can be recognized by their very large, rounded heads. The scientific names for the Froghead Pikes are Crenicichla cyanonotus, Crenicichla reticulate, Crenicichla semifasciata and Crenicichla stocki. The rest of the species in the Reticulata Group have more compressed heads, an adaptation to a life in swiftly running waters. All nine species have a distinct caudal spot, but only one of the species display a shoulder spot. During breeding, the females will show an orange or red bar on their flanks and dorsal fins.

Crenicichla Saxatilis Group

This Saxatilis Group is the biggest group and contains 41 different species. The Saxatilis species are commonly called Spangled Pikes. Male Spangled Pikes have several white or goldish spangles along their sides, hence the name. Spangles can sometimes be seen on females as well. In the Saxatilis Group both sexes will display a humeral shoulder spot, and this spot will sometimes also be enclosed by a ring.

Crenicichla Scotti Group

The Scotti Group contains 3 species. All three species are large. Their colouration is grey and they feature suborbital stripes and rows of lines horizontally along their sides. Females in the Scotti Group have a dorsal fin spot.

Crenicichla Wallaci Group

The Wallaci Group contains 11 species. All Wallaci species are dwarf species, and typically reach a length of five inches or less. Female cichlids in this group will sometimes display a ringed dark spot on the dorsal fin. There are however many species that lack this spot.

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