Cichlids form new species comparatively quickly when placed in geographic isolation. For them, the speciation process often takes only a few decades or centuries, whereas other groups often need millennia. Lake Bermin in Cameroon is a comparatively tiny crater lake with a surface area of only 0.6-0.7 km2. The lake is located in a former volcanic crater, has no inflow but an outflow that drains into the Cross River. There are 9 species of cichlids of the genus Coptodon living in this lake exclusively, all of which can be traced back to a common ancestor. Species differentiation of these Coptodon is extremely tricky, quite obviously the speciation process is not yet complete.
We have now received a number of offspring of cichlids from this lake, which were offered to us as Coptodon gutturosus. The parents of our fish are already offspring. Coptodon gutturosus usually has a deep red breast in its brood care dress, an inheritance from Coptodon guineensis, which is probably the common ancestor of all Coptodon species of Lake Bermin. Our animals are magnificently brassy, with blue, bulging lips and (this is mood dependent) deep black belly ridge. They do not (yet) show the red belly of the parents. Thus they combine characteristics of C. gutturosa, C. snyderae and C. bemini; also C. bakossiorum looks similar. We are very curious to see how this strain will develop further!
None of the mentioned Coptodon species grows larger than 14 cm, C. snyderae becomes reproductive in nature with 2.5 cm length and hardly grows beyond 6 cm, C. bemini reaches the mentioned 14 cm, C. gutturosus and C. bakossiorum stay somewhere in between. So they are small to medium sized cichlids. They see plants as a food component, you have to know that. They are open-breeding cichlids with parental family, which can be compared quite well with more peaceful Cichlasoma relatives (e.g. the Amatitlania species) in their overall behavior.
For our customers: the animals have code 514772 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply to wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer