The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

Murray, A.M. 2001b. The fossil record and biogeography of the Cichlidae (Actinopterygii: Labroidei). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74 (4): 517-532.  

The family Cichlidae is a large group of tropical fishes in the order Perciformes, with an estimated number of living species exceeding 1400. The modern distribution of the family Cichlidae is predominantly in fresh waters of Central and South America, Africa, Madagascar, India and the Middle East, with fossil members known from Africa, Saudi Arabia, the Levant, Europe, South America and Haiti. Many authors have referred to the distribution as being Gondwanan and have postulated that cichlids originated over 130 million years ago, in the Early Cretaceous. However, the suggested evidence for an Early Cretaceous origin of cichlids is equally or more compatible with a much younger age of origin. Based on the biology and distribution of modern and fossil cichlids, it is more probable that they arose less than 65 million years ago, in the Early Tertiary, and crossed marine waters to attain their current distribution.




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