Observations & Ideas

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Updated: March 5, 2006

Hanging Eggs

The long eggs are pike cichlid eggs, the rounder ones are Cichlasoma synspillum eggs.


I am interested in the way that cichlid eggs attach to the spawning surface. The eggs of most substrate spawning cichlids, e.g. the convict cichlid, are covered in sticky threads which are only visible under the microscope. These threads are all over the surface of the egg. When the egg is laid, it will stick to the substrate whereever it contacts the substrate. Most eggs end up with the side -- the largest area -- stuck to the substrate.

This is not the case for all cichlid eggs. Pike cichlids, Apistogrammas and Etroplus eggs attach differently. From my own experience, Etroplus maculatus eggs are attached by a tuft of threads on the end of the egg. Because of this, the eggs "wave in the breeze" as a parent fans them. I have noticed a similar thing when my pike cichlids, Crenicichla lepidota,spawned. The parents laid the eggs on the inner roof of an 8" flower pot laying on its side, with the bottom knocked out. These eggs were attached by the small end to the pot, i.e., not by the long-side and hung down. When I examine these eggs closely, it appears that there are threads only on the end of the eggs, not all over, as on most new world cichlid eggs.

From the cichlid egg project, I have examined the eggs of many species of cichlids. I have noticed the same pattern of egg threads, on the end of the egg only, for various species of Apistogramma. I am very interested in any other observations of this. For example, how about Teleocichla? Do those eggs hang down?

This could be rather important in understanding the phylogeny of cichlids since this character is seen in only a few primitive cichilds and in the damselfish (a putative sister group to the cichlids).


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