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Superregnum : Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis/Classis: Actinopterygii
Classis/Subclassis: Actinopteri
Subclassis/Infraclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Megacohors: Osteoglossocephalai
Supercohors: Clupeocephala
Cohors: Euteleosteomorpha
Subcohors: Neoteleostei
Infracohors: Eurypterygia
Sectio: Ctenosquamata
Subsectio: Acanthomorphata
Divisio/Superordo: Acanthopterygii
Subdivisio: Percomorphaceae
Series: Ovalentaria
Superordo: Cichlomorphae
Ordo: Cichliformes

Familia: Cichlidae
Subfamilia: Cichlinae
Genus: Crenicichla
Species (88): C. acutirostris – C. adspersa – C. albopunctata – C. alta – C. anamiri – C. anthurus – C. brasiliensis – C. britskii – C. cametana – C. celidochilus – C. chicha – C. cincta – C. compressiceps – C. coppenamensis – C. cyanonotus – C. cyclostoma – C. empheres – C. frenata – C. gaucho – C. geayi – C. gillmorlisi – C. hadrostigma – C. haroldoi – C. heckeli – C. hemera – C. hu – C. hummelincki – C. igara – C. iguapina – C. iguassuensis – C. inpa – C. isbrueckeri – C. jaguarensis – C. jegui – C. johanna – C. jupiaensis – C. jurubi – C. labrina – C. lacustris – C. lenticulata – C. lepidota – C. lucius – C. lugubris – C. macrophthalma – C. maculata – C. mandelburgeri – C. marmorata – C. menezesi – C. minuano – C. missioneira – C. monicae – C. mucuryna – C. multispinosa – C. nickeriensis – C. niederleinii – C. notophthalmus – C. pellegrini – C. percna – C. phaiospilus – C. ploegi – C. prenda – C. proteus – C. punctata – C. pydanielae – C. regani – C. reticulata – C. rosemariae – C. santosi – C. saxatilis – C. scottii – C. sedentaria – C. semicincta – C. semifasciata – C. sipaliwini – C. stocki – C. strigata – C. sveni – C. taikyra – C. tapii – C. tendybaguassu – C. ternetzi – C. tesay – C. tigrina – C. tingui – C. tuca – C. urosema – C. virgatula – C. vittata – C. wallacii – C. yaha – C. ypo – C. zebrina

Crenicichla Heckel, 1840: 416

Type species: Crenicichla macrophthalma Heckel, 1840
Type by subsequent designation of Eigenmann & Bray, 1894: 620
Gender: feminine


Batrachops Heckel, 1840
Boggiania Perugia, 1897

Primary references

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, Pls. 29-30. BHL

Additional references

Casciotta, J.; Almirón, A. 2008: Crenicichla tesay, a new species of cichlid (Perciformes: Labroidei) from the río Iguazú basin in Argentina. Revue suisse de zoologie, 115(4): 651–660. [abstract only seen]
Casciotta, J., Almirón, A., Aichino, D., Gómez, S., Piálek, L. & Říčan, O.; 2013: Crenicichla taikyra (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new species of pike cichlid from the middle río Paraná, Argentina. Zootaxa 3721(4): 379–386. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3721.4.5 Reference page.
Eigenmann, C.H., & W.L. Bray 1894: A revision of the American Cichlidae. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 7 (art. 4): 607–624.
Perugia, A. 1897: Di alcuni pesci raccolti nell' alto Paraguay dal Cav. Guido Boggiani. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova (Serie 2a), 18: 147–150. [Also as a separate, pp. 1-4.]
Piálek, L. et al. 2010: Crenicichla hu, a new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Paraná basin in Misiones, Argentina. Zootaxa, 2537: 33–46. Preview PDF
Varella, H.R., Loeb, M.V., de Lima, F.C.T. & Kullander, S.O. 2018. 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). Zootaxa 4377(3): 361–386. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4377.3.3 Reference page.


Crenicichla species list in FishBase,
Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (eds.) 2022. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication, www.fishbase.org, version 08/2021.
Crenicichla and its species (including synonyms) in Catalog of Fishes, Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. & van der Laan, R. (eds.) 2022. Catalog of Fishes electronic version.

BHL bibliography
Catalogue of Life: 2021 Annual Checklist
Crenicichla – Taxon details on Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).
Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 2019. GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset. Taxon: Crenicichla.
Nomenclator Zoologicus

Vernacular names
English: Pike cichlids
português: jacundá, nhacundá, guenza
ไทย: ปลาหมอไพค์

Crenicichla is a genus of cichlids native to South America commonly known as the pike cichlids. They are found in most tropical and subtropical freshwater habitats between the Andes and the Atlantic.[1]


The smallest species of Crenicichla (notably members of the C. wallacii species group) are no larger than 6–14 cm (2.4–5.5 in),[2] and technically qualify as "dwarf cichlids" for the aquarium hobby – though their aggressive and voracious habits should let prospective keepers beware. The biggest pike cichlids can grow to about 50 cm (20 in) long.[2] Most Crenicichla measure in the range of 15–30 cm (6–12 in).[3] Like many other predatory fishes, a pike cichlid has a wide mouth and elongated body.

Distribution and ecology

The genus Crenicichla is native to freshwater in tropical and subtropical South America east of the Andes, ranging from Trinidad and the Guiana Shield (including Orinoco), through the Amazon and Río de la Plata Basins, south as far as Río Negro in Argentina.[4] Although widespread as a group, the individual species are often restricted to a single river or river basin.[4][5] They are found in a wide range of habitats, including rivers, streams, pools and lakes; some species are rheophilic.[4][5]

The vast majority of pike cichlids are predatory and feed on fish, insects, and other small animals. They usually place themselves where they can stay undetected by the prey, like close to a sunken tree stem or behind a rock. This behavior, as well as the correspondingly adapted shape, which resembles that the unrelated pikes (Esocidae) of the Holarctic, gives the pike cichlids their common name. An exception is C. tapii, which is similar in general appearance to other pike cichlids, but unusual for being gregarious and feeding on periphyton.[5]


There are currently around 93 recognized species in this genus:[3][6][7]

Crenicichla acutirostris Günther, 1862
Crenicichla adspersa Heckel, 1840
Crenicichla albopunctata Pellegrin, 1904
Crenicichla alta C. H. Eigenmann, 1912
Crenicichla anamiri P. M. M. Ito & Rapp Py-Daniel, 2015 [8]
Crenicichla anthurus Cope, 1872
Crenicichla brasiliensis (Bloch, 1792)
Crenicichla britskii S. O. Kullander, 1982
Crenicichla cametana Steindachner, 1911
Crenicichla celidochilus Casciotta, 1987
Crenicichla chicha H. R. Varella, S. O. Kullander & F. C. T. Lima, 2012 [9]
Crenicichla cincta Regan, 1905
Crenicichla compressiceps Ploeg, 1986
Crenicichla coppenamensis Ploeg, 1987
Crenicichla cyanonotus Cope, 1870
Crenicichla cyclostoma Ploeg, 1986
Crenicichla empheres C. A. S. de Lucena, 2007
Crenicichla frenata T. N. Gill, 1858
Crenicichla gaucho C. A. S. de Lucena & S. O. Kullander, 1992
Crenicichla geayi Pellegrin, 1903 (Half-banded pike cichlid)
Crenicichla gillmorlisi S. O. Kullander & C. A. S. de Lucena, 2013 [10]
Crenicichla hadrostigma C. A. S. de Lucena, 2007
Crenicichla haroldoi Luengo & Britski, 1974
Crenicichla heckeli Ploeg, 1989
Crenicichla hemera S. O. Kullander, 1990
Crenicichla hu Piálek, Říčan, Casciotta & Almirón, 2010
Crenicichla hummelincki Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla igara C. A. S. de Lucena & S. O. Kullander, 1992
Crenicichla iguapina S. O. Kullander & C. A. S. de Lucena, 2006
Crenicichla iguassuensis Haseman, 1911
Crenicichla inpa Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla isbrueckeri Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla jaguarensis Haseman, 1911
Crenicichla jegui Ploeg, 1986
Crenicichla johanna Heckel, 1840
Crenicichla jupiaensis Britski & Luengo, 1968
Crenicichla jurubi C. A. S. de Lucena & S. O. Kullander, 1992
Crenicichla labrina (Spix & Agassiz, 1831)
Crenicichla lacustris (Castelnau, 1855)
Crenicichla lenticulata Heckel, 1840
Crenicichla lepidota Heckel, 1840 (Pike cichlid)
Crenicichla lucenai Mattos, I. Schindler, Ottoni & Cheffe, 2014 [7]
Crenicichla lucius Cope, 1870
Crenicichla lugubris Heckel, 1840
Crenicichla macrophthalma Heckel, 1840
Crenicichla maculata S. O. Kullander & C. A. S. de Lucena, 2006
Crenicichla mandelburgeri S. O. Kullander, 2009
Crenicichla marmorata Pellegrin, 1904
Crenicichla menezesi Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla minuano C. A. S. de Lucena & S. O. Kullander, 1992
Crenicichla missioneira C. A. S. de Lucena & S. O. Kullander, 1992
Crenicichla monicae S. O. Kullander & H. R. Varella, 2015 (Wallace’s pike cichlid) [11]
Crenicichla mucuryna R. Ihering (pt), 1914
Crenicichla multispinosa Pellegrin, 1903
Crenicichla nickeriensis Ploeg, 1987
Crenicichla niederleinii (Holmberg, 1891)
Crenicichla notophthalmus Regan, 1913
Crenicichla pellegrini Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla percna S. O. Kullander, 1991
Crenicichla phaiospilus S. O. Kullander, 1991
Crenicichla ploegi H. R. Varella, Loeb, F. C. T. Lima & S. O. Kullander, 2018
Crenicichla prenda C. A. S. de Lucena & S. O. Kullander, 1992
Crenicichla proteus Cope, 1872
Crenicichla punctata R. F. Hensel, 1870
Crenicichla pydanielae Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla regani Ploeg, 1989
Crenicichla reticulata (Heckel, 1840)
Crenicichla rosemariae S. O. Kullander, 1997
Crenicichla santosi Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla saxatilis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Ring-tail pike cichlid)
Crenicichla scottii (C. H. Eigenmann, 1907)
Crenicichla sedentaria S. O. Kullander, 1986
Crenicichla semicincta Steindachner, 1892
Crenicichla semifasciata (Heckel, 1840)
Crenicichla sipaliwini Ploeg, 1987
Crenicichla stocki Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla strigata Günther, 1862
Crenicichla sveni Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla taikyra Casciotta, Almirón, Aichino, S. E. Gómez, Piálek, & Říčan, 2013 [6]
Crenicichla tapii Piálek, Dragová, Casciotta, Almirón & Říčan, 2015 [5]
Crenicichla tendybaguassu C. A. S. de Lucena & S. O. Kullander, 1992
Crenicichla ternetzi Norman, 1926
Crenicichla tesay Casciotta & Almirón, 2009
Crenicichla tigrina Ploeg, Jégu & E. J. G. Ferreira, 1991
Crenicichla tingui S. O. Kullander & C. A. S. de Lucena, 2006
Crenicichla tuca Piálek, Dragová, Casciotta, Almirón & Říčan, 2015 [5]
Crenicichla urosema S. O. Kullander, 1990
Crenicichla vaillanti Pellegrin, 1903
Crenicichla virgatula Ploeg, 1991
Crenicichla vittata Heckel, 1840
Crenicichla wallacii Regan, 1905
Crenicichla yaha Casciotta, Almirón & S. E. Gómez, 2006
Crenicichla ypo Casciotta, Almirón, Piálek, S. E. Gómez & Říčan, 2010
Crenicichla zebrina C. G. Montaña, López-Fernández & Taphorn, 2008

In addition to these, several undescribed species are known.[2]

Kullander, Sven O.; Lucena, Carlos A. Santos de (June 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. doi:10.1590/s1679-62252006000200001.
Gottwald, J: Crenicichla arten.
Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2015). Species of Crenicichla in FishBase. August 2015 version.
Piálek, Lubomír; Říčan, Oldřich; Casciotta, Jorge; Almirón, Adriana; Zrzavý, Jan (January 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. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.09.006. PMID 21971056.
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.
CASCIOTTA, JORGE; ALMIRÓN, ADRIANA; AICHINO, DANILO; GÓMEZ, SERGIO; PIÁLEK, LUBOMÍR; ŘÍČAN, OLDŘICH (16 October 2013). "Crenicichla taikyra (Teleostei: Cichlidae), a new species of pike cichlid from the middle río Paraná, Argentina" (PDF). Zootaxa. 3721 (4): 379–86. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3721.4.5. PMID 26120682.
Mattos, J.L., Schindler, I., Ottoni, F.P. & Cheffe, M.M. (2014): A new species of Crenicichla from the upper Rio das Antas basin, dos Patos lagoon system, southern Brazil (Teleostei: Cichlidae). Vertebrate Zoology, 64 (1): 35–42.
Ito, Priscila Madoka M.; Py-Daniel, Lúcia H. Rapp (September 2015). "A small new species of Crenicichla Heckel, 1840 from middle rio Xingu, Brazil (Teleostei: Cichlidae)". Neotropical Ichthyology. 13 (3): 471–478. doi:10.1590/1982-0224-20140105.
Varella, Henrique R.; Kullander, Sven O.; Lima, Flávio 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. doi:10.1590/s1679-62252012000200002.
KULLANDER, SVEN O.; DE LUCENA, CARLOS A. SANTOS (23 April 2013). "Crenicichla gillmorlisi, a new species of cichlid fish (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Paraná river drainage in Paraguay". Zootaxa. 3641 (2): 149–64. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3641.2.3. PMID 26287074.
Kullander, Sven O.; Varella, Henrique R. (September 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 (3): 512–519. doi:10.1643/ci-14-169.

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