Type species: Heros multispinosus Günther, 1866
Distinctive characters: Herotilapia is a monotypic genus. Pellegrin (1904) mentiones the distinctive characters of the genus in the first description: Contrary to all other Central American cichlids, Herotilapia has compressed, tricuspid teeth.
Species currently included:
Distribution: Atlantic versant from the Rio Patunca in Honduras to the Rio Matina in Costa Rica (Bussing, 1998).
Behavior/ Ecology: Baylis (1974) gave an overview over the behavior and ecology of H. multispinosa in Costa Rica.
Further information: According to Stawikowski & Werner (1998), Herotilapia is closely related to Archocentrus (sensu stricto) and differs only in the dentition and fewer rows of scales on the cheeks (3 vs. 5). On the basis of this assumption, Allgayer (2001) described the subtribus Archocentrina including the mentioned genera and Cryptoheros. Molecular phylogenies, however, give evidence that Herotilapia is not closely related to Archocentrus and the subtribus Archcentrina sensu Allgayer is not a natural group (Concheiro Perez, personal communication).
Herotilapia multispinosa is the only species assigned to the genus. The picture shows a male in breeding coloration F1 from Nicaragua, in the aquarium of Jacques Blanc; Manosque, France. Photo by Jacques Blanc.