Crenicichla reticulata female

(Click on picture for close-up of head)

Crenicichla reticulata (Heckel, 1840)

Group: Reticulata

Distribution: Rio Uatuma, Rio Amazonas, Rio Solimoes, Rio Madeira, Rio Purus, Rio Negro and Rio Trombetas in Brazil and also noted in the Essequibo system in Guyana.

Type Locality: Manaus, Brazil

Size: 8-10 inches

Comments: Very rarely imported. This very infrequently seen member of the Frog Head Pikes, previously of the genus Batrachops was collected by me in Rio Uatuma, Brazil in 1997. This is an aggressive but rewarding aquarium resident that has still not reproduced in captivity. Aggression has reduced the numbers to a dominant female and two smaller individuals of either sex. The females of this group sport wide red submarginal bands and a red band below the longitudinal line. They lack suborbital marking and humeral spots. Males of this group have small dark spots on the posterior soft dorsal.

These fish were collected along clayey mud banks in white water with a pH of about 6.4 and a conductivity of 100uS. Strangely, they were caught using a cast net. Each cast was yielding 3-4 subadults and adults. We caught over 20 individuals within two or three meters of each other - unusually close proximity for species so intolerant of each other in aquaria. The sloping clay banks were full of Loricariid caves and we surmise that the impact of the weights of the cast net disturbed these fish using the caves as shelter into our nets. Occupancy of Loricariid caves by Crenicichla has not been previously reported but it should be of little surprise considering their partiality for caves in aquaria.

A similar species, Crenicichla stocki occurs in Rio Tocantins but it differs fron C. reticulata by having its nostrils further away from the lip fold.

Described in: Annalen des Wiener Museums 2; p 433-436

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