Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A new species of Cichlid Fish from Lake Tanganyika.

The Cichlid Fish genus Chalinochromis is endemic to Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. To date two species have been formally described, Chalinochromis brichardi, from the area around Magari in Burundi at the north end of the lake, and Chalinochromis popelini from the area around Moba in Congo, on the southwest shore of the lake. In addition two further species are known in the aquarium trade, but have never been formally described, Chalinochromisbifrenatus’ and Chalinochromisndobhoi’, both from the central eastern shore of the lake.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 22 April 2014, Sven Kullander of the Department of Zoology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Mikael and Magnus Karlsson of African Diving Ltd in Dar es Salaam and Michael Norén, also of the Department of Zoology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, describe a new species of Chalinochromis from the south of Lake Tanganyika.

The new species is named Chalinochromis cyanophleps, meaning ‘blue-veined’, in reference to a conspicuous blue stripe beneath the eye. Chalinochromis cyanophleps is a 103.3-129.3 grey Cichlid Fish with blue fins, which have brighter blue tips and a conspicuous blue stripe beneath its eye. Both sexes show similar colouration, as do the juveniles, though these have faint brown vertical bars.

Chalinochromis cyanophleps in natural habitat at Namansi, depth 8 m. Kullander et al. (2014).

Chalinochromis cyanophleps was found living at depths of 5-10 m to the west the village of Namansi in Nkansi District, Tanzania, and along much of the southeast coast of Lake Tanganyika from Mvuna Island to Kala Bay, at depths of 6-45 m. It was hard to observe, living in rock crevices and caves, and found only as single Fish or breeding pairs.

Chalinochromis cyanophleps, breeding pair in their nest at Kisi Island, depth 12 m. Kullander et al. (2014).

Type locality of Chalinochromis cyanophleps, western shore of Namansi village. Kullander et al. (2014).

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