Archocentrus Gill

Juan J. Schmitter-Soto, 2007, A systematic revision of the genus Archocentrus (Perciformes: Cichlidae), with the description of two new genera and six new species., Zootaxa 1603, pp. 1-78: 4-6

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Archocentrus Gill


[[ Genus Archocentrus Gill  ]]

The cichlid fish genus Archocentrus  was originally proposed as a subgenus of Heros Heckel  ZBK  by Gill (in Gill & Bransford 1877), and later treated as an informal “section” of Cichlasoma Swainson  ZBK  in Regan’s (1905) revision of the genus. The generic status of Cichlasoma  ZBK  sensu Regan (1905), encompassing more than 100 species, has been in a state of uncertainty since Kullander’s (1983) restriction of Cichlasoma  ZBK  sensu stricto to 12 South American species. Of the many remaining groups of species formerly referred to Cichlasoma  ZBK  , those referred to Archocentrus  have been among the strongest candidates for recognition as a monophyletic group (e.g. Miller 1993, Miller et al. 2005). Species assigned to Archocentrus  are major components of the neotropical Central American ichthyofauna from southern Mexico to Panama, occurring across all the ichthyolimnological provinces of Bussing (1976), but the monophyly of the genus has not been explicitly demonstrated and its species composition has been far from clear.

Since a comprehensive analysis of Cichlasoma  ZBK  sensu lato appeared unlikely, Kullander (1996) advocated the provisional use of available generic names, a procedure that some workers had already adopted. Kullander himself (1983), Stiassny (1991), and Miller (1993) had earlier recommended that the use of ‘ Cichlasoma  ZBK  ’- with the quotation marks indicating its informality - would prevent further confusion. Because the systematics of all species previously referred to Cichlasoma  ZBK  had not yet been completely resolved, Nelson et al. (2004: 151-153) chose the conservative approach and tentatively referred all species to Cichlasoma  ZBK  in the most recent checklist of fishes for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Several species have been assigned to Archocentrus  more or less consistently in the literature (Table 1). Allgayer (2001) restricted Archocentrus  to include the two largest species ( Ar. centrarchus  and Ar. spinosissimus  ), and referred six others to a new genus, Cryptoheros  ZBK  (type species, Cr. spilurus  ), which also included the new species Cr. altoflavus  ZBK  . Other species that have sometimes been assigned to Archocentrus  (Table 1) include: Heros octofasciatus  ZBK  , though more frequently placed in incertae sedis; H. citrinellus  ZBK  , albeit demonstrated by Roe et al. (1997) to be an Amphilophus  ZBK  ; H. multispinosus  ZBK  , generally considered in the monotypic genus Herotilapia  ZBK  ; and Neetroplus panamensis  ZBK  , variously included in Archocentrus  (in Kullander 2003), Theraps  ZBK  (in Eschmeyer 2001), or Hypsophrys  ZBK  (in Bussing 1998).

To complicate things further, variation within some Archocentrus  species has not been evaluated before. Hubbs (1936) observed tantalizing meristic and morphometric differences among populations of Cichlasoma octofasciatum  , but he chose not to describe any subspecies because, in his material, geographic differences were confounded with differences in body size.

Considering the potential for undetected biodiversity within presently recognized species, especially those more widely distributed, lectotypes are designated in the present work: Amatitlania nigrofasciata  , Archocentrus spinosissimus  , Cryptoheros septemfasciatus  , Cr. spilurus  , and Rocio octofasciata  . Cichlasoma immaculatum  is shown to be a synonym of Cryptoheros spilurus  and not of Archocentrus spinosissimus  , although it was first described as a “variety” of the latter.

The present revision treats all nominal species ever assigned to the genus Archocentrus  , as well as species that have appeared in the same clade as (or as sister group to) Archocentrus centrarchus  in relevant phylogenetic analyses (Roe et al. 1997, Martin & Bermingham 1998, Farias et al. 2000). Six new species are described and a seventh is resurrected from synonymy. Archocentrus  , Cryptoheros  ZBK  , and Hypsophrys  ZBK  are redefined, and two new genera ( Amatitlania  and Rocio  ) are diagnosed.

Genus-level decisions in this work are supported by a phylogeny (Schmitter-Soto, in press), published separately, which includes most character illustrations and analysis.