Identification keys for the fish of continental and insular waters of Costa Rica. Part II: Cichliformes, Cichlidae (Mojarras, Guapotes, Tilapias and allies)
Keywords:neotropical fishes, Middle America, morphology, external anatomy, dichotomus key
Introduction: Cichlids (Cichlidae, Cichliformes) constitute one of the most diverse families of freshwater fishes on the planet. In Costa Rica about 10% of the total known species belong to this group. Objective: Provide, to those interested (i.e., students, academics, researchers, hobbysts and others), updated information (in a friendly language) that updates the composition, classification and nomenclature, as well as allowing the correct identification, of all species of the Cichlidae occurring in the continental waters of Costa Rica. Methods: A list of species was made considering bibliographic records and information obtained through field work. From this list, an dichotomous key was elaborated, including complementary information on distribution, based mainly on external anatomical characters and coloration patterns. The information used for the elaboration of the key came from three main sources: scientific literature, review of museum specimens and fieldwork. Results: A total of 14 genera and 28 species were listed and analyzed. The resulting key is composed of 27 steps allowing the identification of all species of Cichlidae of Costa Rica. This paper also includes a photographic catalog and updated data on the nomenclature of the species listed. Conclusion: With this contribution, the state of knowledge about the taxonomy, nomenclature, regional and local distribution of the Cichlidae of Costa Rica is updated. The key allows the correct identification of all species of the family and will serve as the basis for future local and regional studies.
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