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Heros efasciatus

Heros efasciatus, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Acanthopterygii
Ordo: Perciformes
Subordo: Labroidei
Familia: Cichlidae
Subfamilia: Cichlasomatinae
Genus: Heros
Species: Heros efasciatus


The common severum, Heros efaciatus , is a freshwater tropical cichlid native to the Amazon region in South America. It is commonly found in the aquarium trade, often in its gold colored variation rather than the wild-type olive green one. The gold coloration appears to be caused by a single gene and is recessive to the green variation. There has been mention of certain "specialized" types of severums for sale in some aquarium stores. One of these variations is the "Red Spotted" severum. The severum is also known as banded cichlid.

Severums in the aquarium trade are often mislabeled as Heros severus but are almost always Heros efasciatus, usually a mix of regional specimens such as Sp. Belem or hybrids with Heros Notatus, Heros Appendiculatus or Heros Sp. Rotkeil, very rarely if at all with Heros Severus, as Severus have very different breeding behaviors.

As an aquarium fish, the severum is a relatively mild-tempered cichlid, although aggression is not uncommon. It grows to a length of 15-30 cm (6-12 inches), is omnivorous, but will benefit from vegetable matter in its diet. Courgette, peas, and lettuce will be eaten with relish, as will commercially available herbivore foods. If sufficient green-matter is not included in its diet, it may eat aquarium plants. It can get along well with much smaller fish in a community aquarium - however it may eat fish that are small enough to fit into its mouth. When mating, severums become very aggressive and territorial. The pair will guard several hundred eggs. Unlike Angel fish, Heros efaciatus lays their clutch of eggs on a horizontal surface, rather than vertical. This is usually on a flat piece of slate, driftwood, or a round rock. The parents will tend to the eggs very carefully, eating the dead ones, and aerating the live eggs.

In general, this is a hardy and robust fish with lots of character. However, it does require a fairly large aquarium, with the usual neotropical cichlid requirements of good biological filtration and sound husbandry. Decor is not generally important, but the fish can be shy without some hiding places to retreat to, and care should be taken to ensure any rocks included do not harden the water too much as the fish originates from soft acidic water


* Cichlasoma severum (TSN 169781). Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved on 30 January 2006.
* Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2005). "Cichlasoma severum" in FishBase. 10 2005 version.

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Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License