Cichlid colors and aggression research

cichlid colors

Hypsophrys nicaraguensis. Photo from publication.

A recent study in crater lakes of Nicaragua revealed details of how different cichlid colors play a role in aggression levels and why some colors may be rarer than others. The focus of the study revolved around Hypsophrys nicaraguensis and species from the the Amphilophus genus. It is understood that color plays a role in breeding and dominance within a species. This study tries to understand the role color may play between different species.

Amphilophus, including A. sagittae and A. xiloaensis, have different color morphs. There is the typical dark color and a rarer gold morph. It turns out that Hypsophrys nicaraguensis was more aggressive toward the rarer gold morph than the typical dark morph of the species. This results in a distinctive cost to an individual of the gold color morph. A. sagittae, which lives in close proximity to H. nicaraguensis has a lower gold morph rate than A. xiloaensis. A. xiloaensis inhabits deeper waters than H. nicaraguensis. To read more about this study and its conclusions about cichlid colors and their role visit The Royal Society Publishing to view the article.

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