Morphology Data of Chromidotilapia melaniae
Identification keys
Main Ref. Stiassny, M.L.J., A. Lamboj, D. De Weirdt and G.G. Teugels, 2008
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors
Remarks Sexual dimorphism well-developed: males usually 15-20% larger than females, dorsal and anal rays in males more elongated (Ref. 81260).

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral fusiform / normal
Cross section
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Type of scales

Diagnosis: 14-18 gill rakers on first gill arch; no large spots on flanks (Ref. 81260). 4-6 bands or 2 rows of dark blotches and short horizontal lines usually visible when stressed (Ref. 50577, 81260). Relatively robust (body depth 26.7-38.2%, mean 34.4% SL); lachrymal depth less than 21% HL (Ref. 81260). No iridescence on cheek, operculum and flanks (Ref. 50577).

Description: relatively robust (body depth 26.7-38.2%, mean 34.4% SL); snout medium length (27.2-39.2%, mean 33.2% HL); shallow lachrymal depth (17.2-21.0%, mean 19.6% HL) (Ref. 81260). Dentary with 5 pores 5; lower jaw with 2-3 rows of unicuspid teeth; snout relatively acute (Ref. 50577). Caudal peduncle short, may be deeper than long or longer than deep; 8-10 (median 9) tuberculate hypobranchial and ceratobranchial rakers on first gill arch, 5-8 (median 6) lanceolate epibranchial rakers; 1st ray of pelvic fin longest in both sexes, but clearly more elongated in males; some dorsal and anal fin rays elongated; caudal rounded in both sexes; 1.5-2.5 scale rows between 8th pored scale of upper lateral line and dorsal fin base; sexual dimorphism well-developed. Males usually 15-20% larger than females, dorsal and anal rays in males more elongated (Ref. 81260).

Coloration: head and dorsum dark brown, paler ventrally; upper lips brown, lower lips white or bluish grey (Ref. 81260). 2 rows of dark longitudinal stripes and small blotches sometimes visible on flanks (Ref. 52307, 81260), often combined with 5-7 dusky bars (Ref. 81260). Ventral parts of head, cheek and opercle light brown; males with dorsal fin clear to pale blue, with red margin and white submargin, other parts of dorsal fin with patterns of red blotches (in anterior parts) or short vertical stripes (posterior parts); caudal fin pale violet, upper edge with red margin and white or light blue submargin, remainder of fin with red and light blue maculae; anal fin violet, with red and white to light blue spots in posterior part, dark margin along outer edge; anterior edge of pelvic fin dark violet or blue, other parts violet; pectoral fin clear to slightly yellow (Ref. 81260). Body scales dark marginated in males (Ref. 52307, 81260). Females with iridescent white or rosy coloration in spinous dorsal and upper half of soft dorsal fin, same in upper edge of caudal fin; other parts of both fins violet to bluish, same colour in anal; anal fin with dark trailing margin; pelvic fins slightly bluish or yellow, with dark anterior edge; pectoral fins clear to slightly yellow; belly of ripe and courting females pale rosy (Ref. 81260).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Chromidotilapia melaniae

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 23 - 29
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle 16 - 16
Barbels 0
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb 8 - 10
on upper limb 5 - 8
total 14 - 18
total 25 - 27


Dorsal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   0
Ventral  0
Spines total 13 - 15
Soft-rays total 9 - 12
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes more or less truncate; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 3 - 3
Soft-rays total 7 - 9

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Spines     0
Soft-rays   13 - 14
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    thoracic  before origin of D1
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Garilao, Cristina V.
Modified by Musschoot, Tobias
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