Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in INVESTIGATIONS OF THE ICHTHYOFAUNA OF NICARAGUAN LAKES, ed. Thomas B. Thorson (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1976). Copyright © 1976 School of Life Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Sixteen families and at least forty-five species of fishes have been reported from Lake Nicaragua (Astorqui, 1971; Villa, 1971). The National Development Institute of Nicaragua (INFONAC) has investigated the potential fish resources and their distribution in the lake in order to implement a program of development and a rational management of the fisheries of the lake (INFONAC, 1974). The study at hand was conducted in connection with that investigation to define the abundance and natural habitat of the mojarra, Cichlasoma citrinellum. This fish belongs to the family Cichlidae, which is represented in the lake by several species.
Cichlasoma citrinellum exhibits great intraspecific variability in color and in certain morphological features. The author is aware of the difficulties of field identification of the species and its separation from closely allied forms, especially C. labia tum (see Astorqui, 1971; Villa, 1971, 1976; Barlow and Munsey, 1976). He is confident of his identifications and, in view of conflicting advice, chooses to treat his collected specimens as belonging to the single species, C. citrinellum. The major features of the natural history of this species have been presented by Barlow (1976) in a study based on populations living in the crater lakes, not the Great Lakes.