The first reports about the brood care behavior of this dwarf cichlid in the early 2000s were a sensation. Mouthbrooding Apistogramma – one had never heard of it before. Later it turned out that things are complicated. Some of the females of A. barlowi, as this species is now called, show quite normal Apistogramma brood care behavior. They spawn in burrows, the male guards the territory with his harem, and the female cares for spawn and young. However, some of the females take the young into their mouths after hatching and keep them there until they are independent. These females are thus so-called larvophilic mouthbrooders. And in isolated cases it even happened that also the male takes parts of the brood into the mouth and takes part in the brood care!
So with Apistogramma barlowi, which originates from the Pebas district in Peru, one can make really exciting observations. It is by no means understood yet if brood care behavior is inherited or if it is a plastic behavior linked to certain environmental factors (yet to be explored).
For our customers: the fish have code 624983 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer