Herotilapia Pellegrin 1904

Mcmahan, Caleb D., Matamoros, Wilfredo A., Piller, Kyle R. & Chakrabarty, Prosanta, 2015, Taxonomy and systematics of the herichthyins (Cichlidae: Tribe Heroini), with the description of eight new Middle American Genera, Zootaxa 3999 (2), pp. 211-234: 230

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Herotilapia Pellegrin 1904


Genus Herotilapia Pellegrin 1904 

( Fig. 19View FIGURE 19)

Inclusive species. H. multispinosa  (type by monotypy)

Diagnosis. Herotilapia  can be distinguished from all other herichthyin genera based on the presence of tricuspid teeth (an adaptation for feeding on filamentous algae). This is also one of the smaller-sized Middle American cichlids. The species is deep-bodied, with an oval or round overall body shape and small, terminal mouth. A moderately round to square-like or rectangular-like blotch is present below the upper lateral line just past the midpoint of the body. A stripe connects this blotch to the operculum around the horizontal through the midpoint of the eye.

Distribution. Atlantic slope of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica from Río Patuca ( Honduras) south to Río Matina ( Costa Rica); Pacific slope of Nicaragua and Costa Rica from Río Guasaule south to Río Tempisque. Specimens are also reported from the Río Choluteca in the Pacific of Honduras (USM- 31494).

Comments. Schmitter-Soto (2007) synonymized Herotilapia  with the genus Archocentrus  based on his phylogenetic analysis of morphological characters. Our molecular phylogeny, as well as all other recent phylogenetic hypotheses, recover H. multispinosa  as distantly related to Archocentrus  . In the present study, H. multispinosa  is recovered as the sister group to Tomocichla  . Sufficient morphological differentiation exists between these two clades (dentition, body shape, markings), which warrants distinct generic recognition for both. Thus, we recognize Herotilapia  as valid, resurrecting it from synonymy.

Material examined. LSUMZAbout LSUMZ 14721 [n= 2; Costa Rica: Río Sarapiquí], LSUMZAbout LSUMZ 15454 [n= 4; Nicaragua: Granada], LSUMZAbout LSUMZ 15471 [n= 2; Nicaragua: Lago Managua], FMNHAbout FMNH 84975 [n= 5; Honduras: Brus Lagoon, La Mosquitia].


Louisiana State University, Musuem of Zoology


Field Museum of Natural History