Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Cichliformes
(Cichlids, convict blennies) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Melanochromis: Greek, melas, melanos = black + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335); wochepa: The specific epithet, a noun in apposition, is derived from Chinyanja, the local language.
around the lake, and means “small” referring to the small adult size of this species.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic. Tropical; 13°S - 14°S, 34°E - 35°E
Africa: endemic to lake Malawi (Ref. 80784, 89864)
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 6.5 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 80784)
Morphology | Morphometrics
Melanochromis wochepa is distinguished from its congeners, except M. auratus, M. dialeptos, and M. mossambiquensis, by a steeper-angled vomer (72–80° vs. 35–53°). It is distinguished from M. auratus, M. dialeptos, and M. mossambiquensis by the male coloration pattern which is blue without white stripes and which is brown/black with yellow and pale-blue stripes in males of the other species. Female M. wochepa are distinguished from M. auratus by a submarginal dorsal band that is wider than the mid-lateral and the dorsolateral stripe. The abdominal yellow stripes in female M. wochepa are thin and never cover the entire lower abdomen, while those in female M. auratus usually cover the entire lower half of the body. M. wochepa is further distinguished from M. dialeptos by a longer head (30.2–33.3 vs. 29.8–31.4 % SL), a deeper body (30.2–34.7 vs. 26.8–31.8 % SL), by a larger distance between the posterior dorsal and pelvic fin (53.3–59.8 % vs. 49.8–55.8 % SL), by a longer pectoral fin (22.8–33.0 % vs. 19.5–24.3 % SL), and by more dorsal-fin rays(7–10 (mode 9) vs. 7–9 (mode 7)). It is further distinguished from M. mossambiquensis by a deeper body as expressed in a larger distance between the origins of the dorsal and anal fins (49.6–54.5 % vs. 47.1–50.8 % SL) and a larger distance between the origins of the dorsal and pelvic fins (30.1–36.4 % vs. 27.6–33.4 % SL), and by a shorter lower jaw (26.7–32.5 % vs. 29.0–41.5 % HL).
Occurs in shallow, rocky habitat; mostly seen solitary; not uncommon; males do not defend territory, but displays between males are frequent and short of duration; feeds from aufwuchs on rocks from which it picks algal strands and diatoms (Ref. 80784).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Konings-Dudin, G, A.F. Konings and J.R. Stauffer Jr., 2009. Descriptions of three new species of Melanochromis (Teleostei: Cichlidae) and a redescription of M. vermivorus. Zootaxa 2076:37-59. (Ref. 80784)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01445 (0.00674 - 0.03099), b=2.97 (2.80 - 3.14), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.3 ±0.4 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months ().
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (10 of 100) .