Cichlasoma Urophthalmus - Reproduction


The Mayan cichlid is territorial and aggressive when breeding (Sands 1987, personal observations). As parents, Mayan cichlids are highly protective of their young, and they have several broods per year. This species is a monogamous, biparental substrate spawner that exhibits minimal sexual dimorphism and guards its fry (babies) for up to six weeks. All of these traits are greatly developed and represent an extreme in the general pattern found in the genus Cichlasoma (Barlow 1991, Martinez-Palacios and Ross 1992, Martinez-Palacios et al. 1993, Conkel 1997, Faunce and Lorenz 2000). In Mexico, the Mayan cichlid spawns for a nine-month period from March to November, particularly during the wet season from June to September. This corresponds to a period when the water temperature is at least 24 degrees Celsius (Caso Chavez et al. 1986, Martinez-Palacios and Ross 1992, Martinez-Palacios et al. 1993). Multiple broods are raised per year. The fry appear to be adapted to lotic (flowing) water. They exhibit strongly positive geotactic behavior, actively swimming down to the substrate upon hatching from the egg and adhering themselves to the bottom by means of three pairs of mucous glands (Martinez-Palacios et al. 1993).

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