Cichlids and the IUCN red list

IUCN Red List logo. Image from

Last year I posted about the IUCN Red List, specifically what it is and why it’s important. If you visit the site for species information, check it carefully.

While the Red List is a great tool for making species purchasing decisions, don’t assume the assessment you see on the site is current. For example, Neolamprologus savoryi is listed as “Least Concern,” which is readily apparent when you visit the site. However, if you look closely, that conclusion was based on an assessment performed in 2006…13 YEARS AGO! Much can change in that short period of time. Assessments on all species of a genus are generally performed at the same time (e.g., all Julidochromis species were assessed in same timeframe).

Also, there are always new cichlid species being discovered and described, old species being reclassified, and existing species being renamed. Assessments of these species may take years. Thus, the listed assessment or even lack of an assessment of a species you search for may or may not be useful. The point of all of this is that the Red List is a tool, which every responsible aquarist and cichlidophile should use in his/her decision making. However, the list isn’t the beginning or end of the story.

Leave a Comment