Michi Tobler, 2005
Cichlid Room Companion
Focus Central America

Short synopsis of Amphilophus Agassiz, 1859

By , 2007. image
Last updated on 20-Jan-2007

Type species: Amphilophus froebelii Agassiz, 1859

Distinctive characters: Distinctive characters of Amphilophus were summarized by Bussing & Martin (1975):

  • Produced snout
  • Upper profile of snout straight
  • Maxillary not extending beyond vertical of anterior margin of eye
  • Pectoral fins long, reaching origin of anal fin or far beyond
  • Basic color pattern comprising five to nine cross bars on body

Species currently included:

Amphilophus amarillo C
Amphilophus calobrensis C
Amphilophus citrinellus C, E(Polychromatism)
Amphilophus hogaboomorum C
Amphilophus labiatus C, E(Polychromatism), A(A. labiatus complex, includes other species of Amphilophus s.s.)
Amphilophus lyonsi C
Amphilophus nourissati C
Amphilophus sagittae C, E(Polychromatism)
Amphilophus trimaculatus C
Amphilophus xiloaensis C, E(Polychromatism)
Amphilophus zaliosus C
C=CRC Catalogue, E=Note on Ecology, S=Note on systematic status

Distribution: Altlantic and Pacific versant from South México to Panama.

Further information: Astatheros Pellegrin, 1904 (type species: Heros heterodontus), Erythrichthus Meek, 1907 (type species: Heros citrinellus) and Curraichthys Fernandez-Yepez, 1969 (type species: Heros lobochilus) are considered as synonyms to Amphilophus by Kullander (2003). Evidence from molecular phylogenies, however, suggests that Amphilophus is polyphyletic and Aststheros a natural group (Martin & Bermingham, 1998; Hulsey et al. 2004), so that some authors consider Astatheros as valid (Stauffer & McKaye, 2002; Kranefeld & Schindler, 2005; Concheiro et al. 2007). Based on data published in recent years, I follow these authors and consider Astatheros as a distinct taxon.

In the lakes of Nicaragua, species of the genus Amphilophus apparently underwent adaptive radiation leading to various closely related but distinct forms (Stauffer & McKaye, 2002). This includes cases of sympatric speciation in small crater lakes (Refer to Barluenga et al., 2006 for potential sympatric speciation in Lake Xiloá. Also, consider the response of Seehausen et al. 2006 in the same journal pointing out that multiple invasions and introgression may account for the patterns documented by Barluenga et al. 2006). Within Amphilophus, there might be a couple of undescribed species.

The taxonomic assignment of some species is still not entirely clear. Based on the results of Concheiro et al. (2007), A. trimaculatus is tentatively included in Amphilophus here (but see a discussion of the topic here). Furthermore, the placement of A. calobrensis (which according to Concheiro et al. 2007 is to be assigned to a yet undescribed genus) and A. nourissati in Amphilophus is likely not definite.

Male in the aquarium A male of Amphilophus labiatus in the aquarium of Don Danko [USA]. Photo by Don Danko. determiner Juan Miguel Artigas Azas

References (11):


Tobler, Michi. (Jan 20, 2007). "Short synopsis of Amphilophus Agassiz, 1859". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Dec 10, 2023, from: