Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Maylandia: In honour of Hans J. Mayland, German ictiologist (Ref. 45335); mossambica: The specific epithet, mossambicus, refers to the area where the species is native; an adjective.
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; benthopelagic. Tropical, preferred ?; 13°S - 14°S, 34°E - 35°E
Africa: endemic to Lake Malawi, from Chiloelo River to Chinuni in Mozambique (Ref. 86490).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 8.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 86409)
Morphology | Morphometrics
A moderately-sloped head and bicuspid teeth in the outer row of the jaws place this species in Metriaclima. Male M. mossambicus from Chiloelo are distinguished from those of all other members of Metriaclima by the absence of a black submarginal band in the dorsal and by black streaks in the caudal and in the posterior portion of the dorsal fin. Male M. mossambicus from Chinuni are distinguished from those of all other Metriaclima by the absence of a black submarginal band in the dorsal and by a narrow black submarginal band in the anal fin. Male M. mossambicus from Lumessi are distinguished from all other Metriaclima, except M. aurora, M. chrysomallos, and M. xanthos by the absence of a black submarginal band in the dorsal, a yellow ventral half of the head, breast, and dorsal fin, and a light-blue nape. Male M. mossambicus from Lumessi population differ from those of M. chrysomallos by a yellow dorsal fin which is light-blue in the latter. Metriaclima mossambicus differs from M. aurora by more vertical bars below the dorsal, 7–9 vs. 6, and from M. xanthos by a shorter lower jaw (mean 31.4, range 27.9–33.8 % HL vs. mean 35.4, range 34.6–36.7 % HL). Based on the color pattern, female M. mossambicus cannot reliably be distinguished from those of most other members of the Aurora group but have 7 or 8 bars below the dorsal fin vs. 6 bars in M. aurora (Ref. 86409).
Found in intermediate habitat, where transition between rocks and sand occurs; 3-20 m deep; males hold territories mainly over sand near rocks and excavate beneath rocks to construct their spawning burrow; feeds on sediment-rich aufwuchs on rocks from which it rakes diatoms and loose algal strands (Ref. 86409).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Ciccotto, P.J., A. Konings and J.R. Stauffer Jr., 2011. Descriptions of five new species in the genus Metriaclima (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Lake Mala?i, Africa. Zootaxa 2738:1-25. (Ref. 86409)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01479 (0.00696 - 0.03143), b=2.97 (2.80 - 3.14), based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.5 ±0.2 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months ().
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (12 of 100) .