Where in the world?
Freshwaters and some brackish water of Central and South America, Africa and Asia.
Cichlids make up one of the largest families of vertebrae animals. Over 1,600 species have been described, with many more yet to be discovered.
The lower pharyngeal (throat) bones of Cichlids are fused into a single structure with a tooth. This gives Cichlids a second set of jaws, so they can pick up food with their first jaws and chew or crush it with their second set.
Due to their second set of jaws, Cichlids have developed diverse feeding strategies: some are herbivores, some carnivores, and many species specialize in very specific food sources.
Did you know?
All Cichlids provide some parental care for their offspring. They may guard and care for eggs and young fish, called fry. Some species even carry the eggs or fry in their mouths to protect them, a process call mouthbrooding.