|Vieja maculicauda (above),|
Vieja melanurus (below)
Vieja is a genus of cichlid fish from Central America and Mexico. The majority of the species are freshwater fish found in stagnant or slow-moving waters of southern Mexico to El Salvador, but V. maculicauda, which also occurs in brackish waters, ranges south to Panama. They are high-bodied cichlids that reach lengths of up to 17–35 cm (7–14 in) depending on the exact species. Vieja feed mostly on vegetable matter, but may also take small invertebrates.
Taxonomy and species
Historically, Vieja was included in Cichlasoma. Once recognized as its own genus, it sometimes included most of the superficially similar, relatively large and high-bodied cichlids of Central America and southern Mexico, but several of these are now considered to belong to separate genera: Chuco, Cincelichthys, Isthmoheros, Kihnichthys, Maskaheros and Oscura (Oscuro might still be better merged with Vieja, but this remains unconfirmed). Conversely, Vieja has sometimes been included in Paraneetroplus.
There are currently 8 recognized species in the genus Vieja:
- Vieja bifasciata (Steindachner, 1864) (Twoband cichlid)
- Vieja breidohri (U. Werner & Stawikowski, 1987) (Angostura cichlid)
- Vieja fenestrata (Günther, 1860)
- Vieja guttulata (Günther, 1864) (Amatitlan cichlid)
- Vieja hartwegi (J. N. Taylor & R. R. Miller, 1980) (Tailbar cichlid)
- Vieja maculicauda (Regan, 1905) (Blackbelt cichlid)
- Vieja melanurus (Günther, 1862) (Redhead cichlid)
- Vieja zonata (Meek, 1905) (Oaxaca cichlid)
In addition to these, two further species have commonly been recognized: The first is V. coatlicue, but today it is usually considered the Atlantic slope population of V. zonata. The second is V. synspilum, in which case V. melanurus is limited to the Lake Petén system, but a review found that the supposed differences between them are invalid.
Because of individual, regional and age-related variations, definite separation of some species can be difficult. Furthermore, hybrids occur, sometimes even between a Vieja species and a species from another heroine genus. The enigmatic Amphilophus margaritifer, sometimes still recognized as a valid species, is most likely a hybrid involving Thorichthys and Vieja.
- McMahan, C.D.; Matamoros, W.A.; Piller, K.R.; Chakrabarty, P. (2015). "Taxonomy and systematics of the herichthyins (Cichlidae: Tribe Heroini), with the description of eight new Middle American Genera" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3999 (2): 211–234. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3999.2.3. PMID 26623572.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2020). Species of Vieja in FishBase. July 2020 version.
- 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.
- McMahan, C.D.; Matamoros, W.A.; Elías, D.J.; Piller, K.R. (2019). "Species or population? Systematic status of Vieja coatlicue (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Neotropical Ichthyology. 17 (2): e190004. doi:10.1590/1982-0224-20190004.
- McMahan, C.D.; Murray, C.M.; Geheber, A.D.; Boeckman, C.D.; Piller, K.R. (2011). "Paraneetroplus synspilus is a Junior Synonym of Paraneetroplus melanurus (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Zootaxa. 2833: 1–14. doi:10.11646/ZOOTAXA.2833.1.1.
- Gómez-González, A.E.; Álvarez, F.; Matamoros, W.A.; Velázquez-Velázquez, E.; Schmitter-Soto, J.J.; González-Díaz, A.A.; McMahan, C.D. (2018). "Redescription of Vieja hartwegi (Taylor & Miller 1980) (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Grijalva River basin, Mexico and Guatemala, with description of a rheophilic morph". Zootaxa. 4375 (3): 371–391. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4375.3.5.
- Říčan, Oldřich; Morgenstern, Rico (2018). "Hybrids, not a new rheophilic morph of Vieja hartwegi" (PDF). doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.14727.09123. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
- Morgenstern, R. (2015). "Anmerkungen zur Herkunft und Identität von Heros margaritifer Günther, 1862". DCG-Informationen. 46 (1): 2–9.