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Taxonomic Position of the Cichlidae (Pisces, Perciformes) as Demonstrated By the Morphology of Their Otoliths

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The otoliths (sagittae) of Cichlidae are described, and compared with those of supposedly related families (Labridae, Embiotocidae, Pomacentridae, Centrarchidae) and of various other perciform families. The examination of their otoliths shows the Cichlidae to be a closely coherent family. A diagnosis for this family is given. All investigated cichlid otoliths reveal a particular type of anterocaudal pseudocolliculum, the synapomorphic character which strongly indicates the monophyly of the family. A survey of the occurrence of pseudocolliculi in teleost otoliths is also presented. Conclusions: the Cichlidae are most closely related to some subfamilies (probably the Cheilininae and Epibulinae) of the family Labridae; cichlid otoliths may well be a useful means of unraveling intrafamilial relationships at various taxonomic levels; the origin of the family Cichlidae must be dated back to at least the Early Turonian (early Late Cretaceous), i.e. about 93 million years ago, as based on continental drift data.

Affiliations: 1: Rijksmuseum van Geologie en Mineralogie, Hooglandse Kerkgracht 17 2312 HS Leiden, The Netherlands


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