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Midas cichlid (A. citrinellus)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cichliformes
Family: Cichlidae
Tribe: Heroini
Genus: Amphilophus
Agassiz, 1859
Type species
Amphilophus froebelii
Agassiz, 1859
  • Curraichthys Fernández-Yépez, 1969
  • Erythrichthus Meek, 1907

Amphilophus is a genus of cichlid fishes from Central America, ranging from southern Mexico to Panama. The genus currently contains 23 species, including several that are well known from the aquarium trade. However, studies led by Oldřich Říčan in 2008 and 2016 suggested that several species within Amphilophus should be moved to the genus Astatheros.[1][2] Species proposed to be moved to Astatheros in 2008 were A. alfari, A. altifrons, A. bussingi, A. diquis, A. longimanus, A. macracanthus (which would be the type species for Astatheros), A. margaritifer, A. rhytisma, A. robertsoni and A. rostratus.[1] Further genetic studies led Říčan to put A. macracanthus in Astatheros, but to put A. alfari, A. altifrons, A. bussingi, A. diquis, A. longimanus, A. rhytisma, A. robertsoni and A. rostratus within the genus Cribroheros.[2] Říčan's study suggests that the Astatheros species are more closely related to the Jack Dempsey and rainbow cichlid than to the remaining Amphilophus species.[1]

Several species from this genus are endemic to the small Lake Apoyo (6 species) and Lake Xiloá (4 species) in Nicaragua, and are believed to be the result of sympatric speciation.[3]


According to FishBase, there are currently 16 recognized species in this genus, listed below.[4][5] According to Catalog of Fishes, Amphilophus erythraeus is a valid species (considered a synonym of A. labiatus by FishBase), Amphilophus margaritifer is an invalid species, and Amphilophus includes two additional species, Amphilophus istlanus and Amphilophus trimaculatus (both these are placed in Cichlasoma by FishBase).[6] Whereas trimaculatus belongs in Amphilophus based on genetics, appearance and behavior, the position of istlanus is less clear, as nDNA places it in Amphilophus, but mDNA places it in Mayaheros; istlanus is likely the result of hybrid speciation involving A. trimaculatus and Mayaheros beani.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Heijns, W. (July 2009). "Central American heroine cichlids, a phylogenetic approach". Cichlid News. pp. 14–22.
  2. ^ a b c Říčan, O.; Piálek, L.; Dragová, K. & Novák, J. (2016). "Diversity and evolution of the Middle American cichlid fishes (Teleostei: Cichlidae) with revised classification". Vertebrate Zoology. 66 (1): 1–102. doi:10.3897/vz.66.e31534.
  3. ^ Dittmann, Roesti, Indermaur, Colombo, Gschwind, Keller, Kovac, Barluenga, Muschick, and Salzburger (2012). Depth-dependent abundance of Midas Cichlid fish (Amphilophus spp.) in two Nicaraguan crater lakes. Hydrobiologia 686(1): 277-285.
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2019). Species of Amphilophus in FishBase. July 2019 version.
  5. ^ a b c Recknagel, H., Kusche, H., Elmer, K.R. & Meyer, A. (2013): Two new endemic species in the Midas cichlid species complex from Nicaraguan crater lakes: Amphilophus tolteca and Amphilophus viridis (Perciformes, Cichlidae).[permanent dead link] aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, 19 (4): 207-224.
  6. ^ Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Species in the genus Amphilophus". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Stauffer; McCrary & Black (2008). "Three new species of cichlid fishes (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Lake Apoyo, Nicaragua". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 121 (1): 117–129. doi:10.2988/06-37.1. S2CID 59518792.[1] Archived 2011-10-03 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Geiger; McCrary & Stauffer (2010). "Description of two new species of the Midas cichlid complex (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Lake Apoyo, Nicaragua". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 123 (2): 159–173. doi:10.2988/09-20.1. S2CID 55158577.[2] Archived 2011-10-03 at the Wayback Machine