Batrachops Heckel, 1840
Crenicichla is a genus of cichlids native to South America commonly known as the pike cichlids. They are found in most tropical and subtropical freshwater habitats between the Andes and the Atlantic.
The smallest species of Crenicichla (notably members of the C. wallacii species group) are no larger than 6–14 cm (2.4–5.5 in), and technically qualify as "dwarf cichlids" for the aquarium hobby – though their aggressive and voracious habits should let prospective keepers beware. The biggest pike cichlids can grow to about 50 cm (20 in) long. Most Crenicichla measure in the range of 15–30 cm (6–12 in). Like many other predatory fishes, a pike cichlid has a wide mouth and elongated body.
Distribution and ecology
The genus Crenicichla is native to freshwater in tropical and subtropical South America east of the Andes, ranging from Trinidad and the Guiana Shield (including Orinoco), through the Amazon and Río de la Plata Basins, south as far as Río Negro in Argentina. Although widespread as a group, the individual species are often restricted to a single river or river basin. They are found in a wide range of habitats, including rivers, streams, pools and lakes; some species are rheophilic.
The vast majority of pike cichlids are predatory and feed on fish, insects, and other small animals. They usually place themselves where they can stay undetected by the prey, like close to a sunken tree stem or behind a rock. This behavior, as well as the correspondingly adapted shape, which resembles that the unrelated pikes (Esocidae) of the Holarctic, gives the pike cichlids their common name. An exception is C. tapii, which is similar in general appearance to other pike cichlids, but unusual for being gregarious and feeding on periphyton.
- Kullander, S.O. & Lucena, C.A. (2006): A review of the species of Crenicichla (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Atlantic coastal rivers of southeastern Brazil from Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul States, with descriptions of three new species. Neotropical Ichthyology, 4 (2): 127–146.
- Gottwald, J: Crenicichla arten.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2015). Species of Crenicichla in FishBase. August 2015 version.
- Piálek, Říčan, Casciotta & Zrzavý (2012). Multilocus phylogeny of Crenicichla (Teleostei: Cichlidae), with biogeography of the C. lacustris group: Species flocks as a model for sympatric speciation in rivers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 62(1): 46-61.
- Piálek, L., Dragová, K., Casciotta, J., Almirón, A. & Říčan, O. (2015): Description of two new species of Crenicichla (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the lower Iguazú River with a taxonomic reappraisal of C. iguassuensis, C. tesay and C. yaha. Historia Natural, 5 (2): 5-27.
- Casciotta, J., Almirón, A., Aichino, D., Gómez, S., Piálek, L. & Rícan, O. (2013): Crenicichla taikyra (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new species of pike cichlid from the middle río Paraná, Argentina. Zootaxa, 3721 (4): 379–386.
- Mattos, J.L., Schindler, I., Ottoni, F.P. & Cheffe, M.M. (2014): A new species of Crenicichla from the upper Rio das Antas basin, dos Patos lagoon system, southern Brazil (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Vertebrate Zoology, 64 (1): 35–42.
- Ito, P.M.M. & Rapp Py-Daniel, L.H. (2015): A small new species of Crenicichla Heckel, 1840 from middle rio Xingu, Brazil (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Neotropical Ichthyology, 13 (3): 471-478.
- Varella, H.R., Kullander, S.O. & Lima, F.C.T. (2012): Crenicichla chicha, a new species of pike cichlid (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the rio Papagaio, upper rio Tapajós basin, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Neotropical Ichthyology, 10 (2): 233-244.
- Kullander, S.O. & Lucena, C.A.S.d. (2013): Crenicichla gillmorlisi, a new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Paraná river drainage in Paraguay. Zootaxa, 3641 (2): 149–164.
- Kullander, S.O. & Varella, H.R. (2015): Wallace’s Pike Cichlid Gets a Name after 160 Years: A New Species of Cichlid Fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Upper Rio Negro in Brazil. Copeia, 103 (3): 512-519.