Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2018-02-02

Crenicichla ploegi, a new species of pike-cichlid of the C. saxatilis group from the Rio Juruena and upper Rio Paraguai basins in Brazil, with an updated diagnosis and biogeographical comments on the group (Teleostei: Cichlidae)

Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Campus de Ondina, Rua Barão de Geremoabo s/n, 40170-115 Salvador, BA, Brazil. Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 42494, 04218–970 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 42494, 04218–970 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade Estadual de Campinas "Adão José Cardoso", Caixa Postal 6109, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil.
Department of Zoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, POB 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden.
Pisces biogeography coloration paedomorphy species groups


Crenicichla ploegi, new species, is described based on material from the Rio Juruena (Rio Papagaio, Rio do Sangue, Rio Arinos, and Rio Juruena itself) and from tributaries of the upper Rio Paraguai (upper Rio Jauru, upper Rio Cabaçal and upper Rio Sepotuba) in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Crenicichla ploegi is the twenty-third species of the C. saxatilis group. It is distinguished from all other species of the group by the presence of dark spots and vermiculations on snout, interorbital area and dorsally on head in adults vs. dark markings absent or present only in juveniles but absent in adults, and by the presence of a deep and strongly pigmented lateral band present in both juveniles and adults, occupying a depth of 4–6 horizontal scale rows vs. lateral band narrower, occupying a depth of 2–3 horizontal scale rows, and conspicuous only in juveniles and smaller specimens, faded or absent in larger specimens. Diagnostic characteristics of the C. saxatilis group proposed in previous studies were discussed to update the diagnosis of the group, and morphological comparisons among the species included in the group, with biogeographical comments, are provided. The presence of conspicuous dark markings dorsally on the head and the presence of a prominent midlateral band are hypothesized to be paedomorphic characteristics, retained from juvenile conditions in the context of the species of the C. saxatilis group.



  1. Barel, C.D.N., Van Oijen, M.J.P., Witte, F. & Witte-Maas, E. (1977) An introduction to the taxonomy and morphology of the haplochromine cichlids from Lake Victoria. Netherlands Journal of Zoology, 27, 333–389.

    Bloch, M.E. (1792) Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische. Vol. 6. Auf Kosten des Verfassers und in Commission bei dem Buchhändler Hr. Hesse, Berlin, xii + 126, pls. 289–323.

    Günther, A. (1862) Catalogue of the fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Acanthopterygii, Pharyngognathi and Anacanthini in the collection of the British Museum. British Museum, London, 4, i–xxi + 1–534

    Heckel, J.J. (1840) Johann Natterer's neue Flussfische Brasilien's nach den Beobachtungen und Mittheilungen des Entdeckers beschrieben (Erste Abtheilung, Die Labroiden). Annalen des Wiener Museums der Naturgeschichte, 2, 325–471.

    Kloke, J. & McKean, J. (2014a) npsm: Package for Nonparametric Statistical Methods using R. Available from: (accessed 11 Abril 2016)

    Kloke, J.D. & Mckean, J.W. (2014b) Nonparametric Statistical Methods Using R. 2nd Edition. CRC Press, Boca Ratón, 263 pp.

    Kullander, S.O. (1981) Cichlid fishes from the La Plata basin. Part I. Collections from Paraguay in the Muséum d'Histoire naturelle de Genève. Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 88, 675–692.

    Kullander, S.O. (1982) Cichlid fishes from the La Plata basin. Part III. The Crenicichla lepidota species group. Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 89, 627–661.

    Kullander, S.O. (1986) The cichlid fishes of the Amazon river drainage of Peru. Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, 431p.

    Kullander, S. O. (1988) Teleocichla, a new genus of South American rheophilic cichlid fishes with six new species (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Copeia, 1988, 196–230.

    Kullander, S.O. (1990a). A new species of Crenicichla from the Rio Tapajós, Brazil, with comments on interrelationships of the small crenicichline cichlids. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 1 (1), 85–93.

    Kullander, S.O. (1990b) Crenicichla hemera (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new cichlid species from the Rio Aripuanã drainage, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 1, 213–218.

    Kullander, S.O. (1997) Crenicichla rosemariae, a new species of pike cichlid (Teleostei, Cichlidae) from the upper Rio Xingu drainage, Brazil. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 7, 279–287.

    Kullander, S.O. (1998) A phylogeny and classification of the South American Cichlidae. In: Malabarba L, Reis RE, Vari RP, Lucena ZM, Lucena CAS, eds. Phylogeny and Classification of Neotropical Fishes. EDIPUCRS, Porto Alegre, pp. 461–498.

    Kullander, S.O. (2003). Family Cichlidae. In: Reis, R.E., Kullander, S.O. & Ferraris Jr., C.J. (Eds.), Check list of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. Edipucrs, Porto Alegre, pp. 605–654.

    Kullander, S.O. & Lucena, C.A.S. (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.

    Kullander, S.O. & Nijssen, H.J. (1989) The cichlids of Surinam (Teleostei: Labroidei). E.J. Brill, Leiden, 256 pp.

    Kullander, S.O., Norén, M., Friðriksson, G.B. & Lucena, C.A.S. (2009) Phylogenetic relationships of species of Crenicichla (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from southern South America based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 48 (3), 248–258.

    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, 512–519.

    Lima, F.C.T., Britski, H.A. & Machado, F.A. (2007) A new Moenkhausia (Characiformes: Characidae) from central Brazil, with comments on the area relationships between the upper Rio Tapajós and upper Rio Paraguai systems. Aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, 13 (2), 45–54.

    Lima, F.C.T. & Ribeiro, A.C. (2011) Continental-scale tectonic controls of biogeography and ecology. In: Albert, J.S. & Reis, R.E. (Eds.), Historical Biogeography of Neotropical Freshwater Fishes. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 145–164.

    López-Fernández, H., Honneycutt, R.L., Stiassny, M.L.J. & Winemiller, K.O. (2005) Morphology, molecules, and character congruence in the phylogeny of South American geophagine cichlids (Perciformes, Labroidei). Zoologica Scripta, 34, 627–651.

    Lucena, C.A.S. & Kullander, S.O. (1992) The Crenicichla (Teleostei: Cichlidae) species of the Uruguai River drainage in Brazil. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 3 (2), 97–160.

    Pellegrin, J. (1903) Description de Cichlidés nouveax de la collection du Muséum. Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 9 (3), 120–125.

    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.

    Piálek, L., Říĉan, O., Casciotta, J., Almirón, A. & Zrzavy, J. (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.

    Ploeg, A. (1986). The cichlid genus Crenicichla from the Tocantins River, State of Pará, Brazil, with descriptions of four new species (Pisces, Perciformes, Cichlidae). Beaufortia, 36 (5), 57–80.

    Ploeg A. (1987) Review of the cichlid genus Crenicichla Heckel, 1840 from Surinam, with descriptions of three new species (Pisces, Perciformes, Cichlidae). Beaufortia, 5, 73–98.

    Ploeg, A. (1991) Revision of the South American cichlid genus Crenicichla Heckel, 1840 with descriptions of fifteen new species and considerations on species groups, phylogeny and biogeography (Pisces, Perciformes, Cichlidae). Akademisch Proefschrift, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 152 pp.

    Ploeg, A., Jégu, M. & Ferreira, E. (1991) Crenicichla tigrina, une nouvelle espèce de Cichlidae (Pisces, Perciformes) du Rio Trombetas, Pará, Brésil. Bulletin Zoölogisch Museum, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 13 (1), 1–11.

    R Core Development Team (2012) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. Available from: (accessed 11 April 2016)

    Regan, C.T. (1905) A revision of the fishes of the South-American cichlid genera Crenacara, Batrachops and Crenicichla. Proceedings of the Zoological Society, 1905, 152–168.

    Regan, C.T. (1913) A synopsis of the cichlid fishes of the genus Crenicichla. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 8, 498–540.

    Ribeiro, A.C., Jacob, R.M., Silva, R.R.S.R., Lima, F.C.T., Ferreira, D.C., Ferreira, K.M., Mariguela, T.C., Pereira, L.H.G. & Oliveira, C. (2013) Distributions and phylogeographic data of rheophilic freshwater fishes provide evidences on the geographic extension of a central-brazilian Amazonian palaeoplateau in the area of the present day Pantanal Wetland. Neotropical Ichthyology, 11 (2), 319–326.

    Römer, U., Römer, C. I., Estivals, G., Díaz, A. V., Duponchelle, F., Dávila, C.R.G., Hahn, I. & Renno, J-F. (2017) Description of a new maternal larvophilic mouth-brooding cichlid species, Apistogramma megastoma sp. n. (Teleostei: Perciformes: Geophaginae), from Loreto, Peru. Vertebrate Zoology, 67 (2), 1–20.

    Taylor, W.R. & Van Dyke, G.C. (1985) Revised procedures for staining and clearing small fishes and other vertebrates for bone and cartilage study. Cybium, 9 (2), 107–119.

    Varella, H.R. (2011) Revisão taxonômica das espécies de Crenicichla Heckel das bacias dos rios Paraná e Paraguai (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Dissertação de Mestrado, Instituto de Biociências da Universidade de São Paulo/ Museu de Zoologia da USP, São Paulo, xiv + 194 pp.

    Varella, H.R. & Britzke, R. (2016) Apistogramma eleutheria and Apistogramma flavipedunculata, two new species of dwarf cichlids from the Rio Curuá on Serra do Cachimbo, Brazil (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 27 (1), 81–95.

    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.

How to Cite

VARELLA, H. R., LOEB, M. V., LIMA, F. C., & KULLANDER, S. O. (2018). <em>Crenicichla</em> <em>ploegi</em>, a new species of pike-cichlid of the <em>C. saxatilis</em> group from the Rio Juruena and upper Rio Paraguai basins in Brazil, with an updated diagnosis and biogeographical comments on the group (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Zootaxa, 4377(3), 361–386.