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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous to present(molecular clock)
Pholidichthys leucotaenia 1.jpg
Pholidichthys leucotaenia , the convict blenny
Freshwater angelfish biodome.jpg
Pterophyllum scalare , the freshwater angelfish, a cichlid
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
(unranked): Ovalentaria
Order: Cichliformes
R. Betancur-R et al. 2013
Type species
Cichla ocellaris
Bloch & Schneider, 1801

Cichliformes /ˈsɪklɪfɔːrmz/ is an order of fishes. Its members were previously classified under the order Perciformes, but now many authorities consider it to be an independent order within the subseries Ovalentaria.


There are two families within the Cichliformes; the convict blennies are a small family consisting of a single genus and two species, while the cichlids are one of the largest vertebrate families with over 202 genera and more than 1700 species. It is molecular data which placed the two seemingly dissimilar families in the same taxon. [1]

The families are:

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cichlid</span> Family of fishes

Cichlids are fish from the family Cichlidae in the order Cichliformes. Cichlids were traditionally classed in a suborder, the Labroidei, along with the wrasses (Labridae), in the order Perciformes, but molecular studies have contradicted this grouping. On the basis of fossil evidence, it first appeared in Tanzania during the Eocene epoch, about 46–45 million years ago. The closest living relative of cichlids is probably the convict blenny, and both families are classified in the 5th edition of Fishes of the World as the two families in the Cichliformes, part of the subseries Ovalentaria. This family is large, diverse, and widely dispersed. At least 1,650 species have been scientifically described, making it one of the largest vertebrate families. New species are discovered annually, and many species remain undescribed. The actual number of species is therefore unknown, with estimates varying between 2,000 and 3,000.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Centriscidae</span> Family of fishes

The Centriscidae are a family of fishes from the order Syngnathiformes which includes the snipefishes, shrimpfishes, and bellowfishes. A small family, consisting of only about a dozen marine species, they are of an unusual appearance, as reflected by their common names. The species in this family are restricted to relatively shallow, tropical parts of the Indo-Pacific.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johann Jakob Heckel</span> Austrian zoologist (1790–1857)

Johann Jakob Heckel was an Austrian taxidermist, zoologist, and ichthyologist from Mannheim in the Electoral Palatinate.

<i>Grammatotria</i> Genus of fishes

Grammatotria lemairii is a species of cichlid endemic to Lake Tanganyika in East Africa where it prefers areas with sandy substrates. This species can reach a length of 26 centimetres (10 in) TL. It is currently the only known member of its genus. The species is occasionally kept as an aquarium fish. The specific name honours Lieutenant Charles Lemaire (1863-1925) who was the leader of the Congo Free State Expedition, which collected specimens of fishes at Lake Tanganyika, including the type of G. lemairii.

<i>Pseudotropheus johannii</i> Species of fish

Pseudotropheus johannii or the bluegray mbuna is an African freshwater fish from the family Cichlidae.

Aristochromis christyi is a species of fish in the family Cichlidae, which is endemic to Lake Malawi in Africa. It is the only known member of its genus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Giant cichlid</span> Species of fish

The giant cichlid, also known as the emperor cichlid, is a species of fish in the family Cichlidae, endemic to Lake Tanganyika in Africa. It is the only member of its genus Boulengerochromis and tribe Boulengerochromini.

Barton's cichlid is a species of cichlid freshwater fish endemic to the Laguna Media Luna and headwaters of the Río Verde between 1,000–1,100 m (3,300–3,600 ft) above sea level in the state of San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Its range is a part of the upper Panuco River basin. This species can reach a standard length of 18 cm (7.1 in). It can also be found in the aquarium trade. It shares its distribution with the related Nosferatu labridens. Barton's cichlid is endangered due to habitat loss, pollution and introduced species.

Iodotropheus stuartgranti is a species of cichlid endemic to Lake Malawi. It can also be found in the aquarium trade. This species can reach a length of 10 centimetres (3.9 in) TL. The specific name honours Stuart M. Grant (1937-2007), an exporter of cichlids from lake Malawi for the aquarium trade. This species feeds maonly on aufwuchs. The males are territorial and the female will lay anywhere within a male's territory.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pearl of Likoma</span> Species of fish

The pearl of Likoma is a species of fish in the family Cichlidae endemic to Lake Malawi where it is native to rocky areas around Likoma Island and it has been introduced to Thumbi West Island. This species can reach a length of 10 centimetres (3.9 in) TL. It can also be found in the aquarium trade. Males are blue, while females are a greenish blue with rows of yellowish spots and shiny gills. They feed on crustaceans, insects, and larvae.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Damba</span> Species of fish

The damba is a species of cichlid.

<i>Ptychochromis grandidieri</i> Species of fish

Ptychochromis grandidieri is a species of fish in the family Cichlidae endemic to river basins along a large part of the eastern coast of Madagascar, although it has been recorded as far as 100 km (62 mi) inland. Uniquely in the genus Ptychochromis, this species also occurs in brackish water. It reaches 35cm in standard length. It shares a large part of its range with a cichlid from another genus, Paretroplus polyactis. The specific name honours Alfred Grandidier (1836-1921), the French naturalist and explorer who, with Henri Joseph Léon Humblot (1852-1914), collected the type.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zoarcoidei</span> Suborder of fishes

Zoarcoidei is a suborder of marine ray-finned fishes belonging to the order Scorpaeniformes. The suborder includes the wolffishes, gunnels and eelpouts. The suborder includes about 400 species. These fishes predominantly found in the boreal seas of the northern hemisphere but they have colonised the southern hemisphere.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ptychochrominae</span> Subfamily of fishes

The Ptychochrominae are a subfamily in the cichlid family of fish. It includes about 14 species. They are restricted to lakes and rivers in Madagascar, and the majority are threatened. Most cichlid genera native to Madagascar are included in this subfamily; the only exceptions are Paretroplus and Paratilapia.

Jacques Pellegrin was a French zoologist.

Ptychochromis ernestmagnusi is a species of fish cichlid only known from the Mananara du Nord River in northeastern Madagascar, but it is probably more widespread in that region. If so, it likely occurs in the Mananara-Nord Biosphere Reserve, which would give it a level of protection. It can reach 14.7 cm (5.8 in) in standard length. The specific name honours Ernest Magnus (1908-1983) who was the uncle of the German-American marine biologist and ichthyologist Rudolf Arndt who gave generous support to the author's research, at the request of Anrdt's family, whose “generous gift” supported the authors’ research. Magnus played an important part in assisting the Arndt family to survive in Berlin after the Second World War and then emigrate to New York City in 1950, by giving them "food, clothing, shelter, love, many kindnesses and moral support".

Rondonacara hoehnei is a species of cichlid fish of the subfamily Cichlinae. This species is endemic to the upper das Mortes River basin in the Araguaia drainage of central Brazil. This species is the only known member of its genus, but it was formerly included in Aequidens. Although not yet rated by the IUCN, it has been suggested that it is seriously threatened and should be considered critically endangered. The specific name honour the collector of the type specimen, the Brazilian botanist Frederico Carlos Hoehne (1882-1959).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Callionymiformes</span> Order of fishes

Callionymiformes is an order of bony fish containing two families, the dragonets Callionymidae and the Draconettidae. In some taxonomies these families make up the suborder Callionymoidei of the wider grouping known as Perciformes, Nelson (2016) recognised the order but subsequent workers have suggested that if Callionymiformes is recognised as an order then the order Syngnathiformes is rendered paraphyletic and include Callionmyoidei within that taxon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ovalentaria</span> Clade of fishes

Ovalentaria is a clade of ray-finned fishes within the Percomorpha, referred to as a subseries. It is made up of a group of fish families which are referred to in Fishes of the World's fifth edition as incertae sedis, as well as the orders Mugiliformes, Cichliformes, and Blenniiformes. It was named by W. L. Smith and T. J. Near in Wainwright et al. (2012) based on a molecular phylogeny, but the authors suggested that the group was united by the presence of demersal eggs that are attached to a substrate. Some authors have used the ordinal name Stiassnyiformes for a clade including Mugiloidei, Plesiopidae, Blenniiformes, Atherinomorpha, and Cichlidae, and this grouping does appear to be monophyletic.

Biotodoma wavrini, is a species of cichlid in the tribe Geophagini, part of the American cichlid subfamily Cichlinae. It is found in the middle and upper Rio Negro drainage in Brazil and Venezuela, and in the Orinoco River basin in Colombia and Venezuela. B. wavrini is around 10 cm in length. The Orinoco eartheater poses no threats to humans.


  1. J. S. Nelson; T. C. Grande; M. V. H. Wilson (2016). Fishes of the World (5th ed.). Wiley. p. 752. ISBN   978-1-118-34233-6. Archived from the original on 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  2. Bailly N, ed. (2017). "Pholidichthyidae Jordan, 1896". FishBase . World Register of Marine Species . Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. Bailly N, ed. (2015). "Cichlidae Bonaparte, 1835". FishBase . World Register of Marine Species . Retrieved 5 November 2018.