Descriptions of three new species of Melanochromis (Teleostei: Cichlidae) and a redescription of M. vermivorus

Gertrud Konings-Dudin, Adrianus F. Konings, Jay R. Stauffer

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4 Scopus citations


The Lake Malaŵi genus Melanochromis included five species at its inception and was originally distinguished from Pseudotropheus on the basis of morphology including the arrangement of pharyngeal teeth. The diagnosis has been extended twice, first to include all elongate mbuna that possess horizontal stripes and U-shaped tooth bands and later to exclude mbuna that do not exhibit a sex-related reversal in their color pattern. We have further refined the diagnosis of the genus on the basis of the melanin pattern, resolved a longstanding dispute regarding the validity of M. heterochromis, re-evaluated the status of M. vermivorus, synonymized M. mellitus Johnson 1976 with M. melanopterus Trewavas 1935, moved M. benetos Bowers and Stauffer 1977 to Pseudotropheus, and described M. kaskazini, M. wochepa, and M. mossambiquensis from the eastern shore of the lake. Melanochromis is still paraphyletic as two species, M. joanjohnsonae Johnson 1974 and M. labrosus Trewavas 1935, are not congruent with the rest of the group, but, currently, a better alternative for these two could not be found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-59
Number of pages23
Issue number2076
StatePublished - Apr 17 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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