Discover fishes of the genus Apistogramma

Who are Apistogramma ?

In 2019 according to Fishbase, 89 species belong to genus Apistogramma. Fishes of this genus all belong to the „dwarf cichlids“ family. As a reminder, cichlids are one of the main freshwater families. Most of the Apistogramma fishes measure less than 10 cm, which is why they have been attributed the adjective „dwarf“.

Into the wild, these fishes can be found in almost the entire neotropical realm, east of the Andes, with a high concentration in the Amazon Basin. Most of them live in highly localized and isolated areas, in drainage systems of lowlands tropical rainforests and in open savannas around the Amazone, Orinoco and Paraguay rivers areas. Some species are widespread such as A.agassiziiA. bitaeniataA. cacatuoides or A. trifasciata.

Other species with a narrow geographic distribution are particularly threatened by rapid environmental changes and could be affected by forest degradation or dam construction.

Apistogramma fishes generally inhabit edges of streams or rivers, in waters of shallow depth and with leaf litter on the bottom. They can be found in all kinds of waters (clear waters, dark waters, white water streams). These territorial small fishes take good care of their offsprings. Sociability varies from one species to the other.

In these characteristic environments, they swim along various species of tetras, pencil fishes, Corydoras fishes and Loricariidae. Others cichlids also inhabit this kind of habitat.

It is clear that some species have not been described to date. Researches are ongoing in order to further refine information on this genus. Three main subgroups of Apistogramma fishes have been identified: the steindachneri, the agassizii and the regani lineages. Despite strong similarities between certain species, hybridization risks are very low. Wild females are very picky and a study shows that they recognize males from a same territory and will choose them in order to reproduce.

This genus is considered as the sister clade of the Taeniacara genus.

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