The Cichlids of India - The Etroplines

Discussion about Cichlids from Middle East or Asia
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Jim Cumming
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The Cichlids of India - The Etroplines

Post by Jim Cumming » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:32 pm

There are only three cichlid species endemic to India and they are all of the genus Etroplus - Etroplus suratensis / canarensis / maculatus. Their closest living relatives are the Paretroplus from Madagascar. These two ancient lineages split when Madagascar and the Indian Plate finished drifting apart by the end of the Cretaceous period 66 million years ago. Etroplus suratensis (Green Chromide) is native to India and Sri Lanka, and is primarily found in brackish water but tolerates fresh or marine waters for short periods. It is found in large rivers, reservoirs, lagoons and estuaries where it feeds on filamentous algae, plant material and insects. Etroplus canarensis (Canara Pearlspot) is endemic to South Karnataka in India. Unlike other members of the genus, it does not occur in brackish waters, being found in freshwater only. It is a much sought after cichlid, and somewhat rare in the aquarium hobby. The Orange Chromide (Etroplus maculatus) is endemic to freshwater and brackish streams, lagoons and estuaries and co-occurs throughout its range with the Green Chromide. In their natural setting, Orange Chromides prey on the eggs and young of E. suratensis and also act as a "cleaner fish" removing parasites from the much larger Green Chromides in a cleaning symbiosis. Here is a brief video of these species in my fish room. These are all sub-adult.
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