Vertebrae: 29-32. Diagnosis: Haplochromis pancitrinus is a small sized (less than 9 cm standard length), relatively slender (body depth 29.0-33.5% of standard length), micrognathic species, with mainly bicuspid teeth in the oral jaws (Ref. 85523). Although there are many species that resemble Haplochromis pancitrinus, no other species are known with the typical golden-yellow colouration of sexually active males, without any distinct markings (Ref. 85523).
Description: Body relatively slender; dorsal head profile gently curved over the whole dorsal outline; premaxillary pedicel slightly interrupting the dorsal head profile (Ref. 85523). Mouth oblique; lips normal; medial part of the premaxilla not expanded; caudal part of the maxilla not bullate; the vertical through the caudal tip of the maxilla runs through the anterior part of the iris; lateral snout outline isognathous, sometimes prognathous; lower jaw often slightly protruding; mental prominence not or slightly pronounced; retro-articular processes of right and left mandible halves generally touching each other, not or slightly interrupting the ventral body outline; eye approximately circular, a small aphakic aperture may be present; cephalic lateral line pores not or slightly enlarged (Ref. 85523). Cheek, gill cover, dorsal head surface, greater part of dorsum and caudal fin base covered with cycloid scales; chest covered with a few cycloid scales and a majority of weakly ctenoid scales; remaining part of the body with ctenoid scales; a gradual size transition between scales of chest and flank; four to six scales between the upper lateral line and the dorsal fin origin, four to six between the pectoral and the pelvic fin bases (Ref. 85523). Pelvic fins just reaching the anal fin origin; first soft rays of pelvic fins slightly produced, occasionally filamentous; anal fin not reaching caudal fin origin; caudal fin outline truncate to emarginate; in most specimens emarginate (Ref. 85523). The number of gill rakers on the lower part of the first gill arch is 10; the first raker is reduced, the following two to three short; the next three to six are long and slender, their shape is acutely pointed; the upper one to three rakers are long and blunt to acutely pointed in shape; the rakers on the first gill arch may touch each other; the number of gill filaments on the lateral hemibranch of the first gill arch ranges from 90 to 101 (Ref. 85523). Premaxillary dentigerous arm slightly shorter than, or as long as, ascending arm; the angle between the two arms is 83° to 85°; symphyseal articulation facet not present; lower jaw slightly elongated; the upper half of the dentary has an outwardly directed flare, which is slightly distinct to distinct; mental prominence not or slightly pronounced; teeth in rostral part, ca. 2/3 of dentigerous area, of premaxilla and lower jaw unequally bicuspid, often with a few tricuspids among them; occasionally an admixture of bicuspids and tricuspids is found; in the caudal part of premaxilla and lower jaw mostly tricuspids are found, sometimes also subequally bicuspids; the caudal-most teeth in the premaxilla are not enlarged; in bicuspid teeth, the major cusp is isoscelene to subequilateral; a small to distinct flange is present in the more rostrally placed teeth; the tip of the major cusp may or may not be elevated above the flange; the cusp gap is wide to moderately wide, the minor cusp is relatively large compared to the major cusp; in labial view, the neck is moderately stout to stout, the crown slightly expanded to expanded; in lateral view, the crown is slightly compressed; both premaxilla and lower jaw teeth are slightly recurved to recurved; the inner row teeth of both premaxilla and lower jaw consist of tricuspid teeth; teeth are relatively small and slender, caudal teeth very small (Ref. 85523). Dental arcade rounded and U-shaped; the premaxilla has one to three inner rows anteriorly, none posteriorly; caudal-most part of dentigerous arm edentulous; lower jaw has one or two inner rows anteriorly, none posteriorly; there are 37 to 56 teeth in the outer row of the upper jaw; teeth in both premaxilla and lower jaw normal to closely set, caudal-most teeth of premaxilla may be more widely set; outer row teeth of premaxilla erect, inner row teeth recumbent; lower jaw outer row teeth slightly procumbent, inner row teeth erect (Ref. 85523). Lower pharyngeal element relatively long and slender; longer than broad; the dentigerous area is broader than long; the suture is straight; 35 to 39 pharyngeal teeth in caudal-most transverse rows, 10 to 12 teeth in medial rows; caudal-most transverse row hooked, major cusp only slightly incurved and blunt; other teeth bevelled; minor cusp in some of these teeth strongly pronounced; all teeth relatively small and slender; medial teeth not coarser than other teeth (Ref. 85523). The total number of vertebrae is 29-32, comprising 13-14 abdominal and 16-18 caudal vertebrae (Ref. 85523).
Colouration: Live colouration of males: snout, dorsal head surface, lips, lower jaw, cheek, interoperculum and gill cover golden-yellow; eye with a grey outer ring and a golden inner ring; flank golden-yellow with a faint blue-grey ground colour, which is slightly darker in the dorsum; belly, chest and ventral side ivory with a yellow flush; an opercular blotch is present, the nostril- and interorbital stripe are faint; pectoral fins hyaline, pelvic fins blackish and blue on lateral side and hyaline-yellowish medially; anal fin dorso-rostrally light blue or yellow, ventro-caudally hyaline-yellowish; one or two yolk-yellow egg dummies, surrounded by a hyaline ring, are present; caudal fin yellow, caudally becoming more hyaline; dorsal fin base yellow, distally greyish-hyaline; lappets hyaline to yellow (Ref. 85523). Live colouration of females unknown (Ref. 85523). Preserved colouration of males: entire body light grey-brown; ventral side slightly lighter; an opercular blotch is present, interorbital and nostril stripe sometimes faintly present; occasionally very faint traces of vertical bars a dorsal-lateral band and a mid-lateral band are present; pectoral fins hyaline, lateral side of the pelvic fins black, remainder hyaline to dusky; anal and dorsal fin hyaline; caudal fin hyaline, sometimes with a few dark brown streaks (Ref. 85523). Preserved colouration of females: the female is coloured like preserved males, but the interorbital and nostril stripe are absent and the pelvic fins are hyaline (Ref. 85523).