Family: CICHLIDAE, Cichlids
Small to large fishes; body shape highly variable; 1 pair of nostrils; no bony shelf under eye; top jaw highly protrusible; one dorsal fin, usually VII-XXV, 5-30; anal fin III-XV spines (most III, the rest mainly IV-IX, rarely XV), 4-15; pelvics under pectoral fin base; tail fin rounded to straight to slightly concave; lateral line in 2 straight overlapping sections; usually 20-50 scales on lateral line, but up to >100.
A family of fresh and brackish water fishes with highly organized breeding activites and parental care of eggs and young; the Americas; Africa to India; about 105 genera with more than 1300 species; 8 species from 4 genera in brackish water in our area. All eight are exotic species introduced to the area, as aquarium escapees, for aquaculture or for sport fishing.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER CARPENTER (2002)