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); mossambiquensis: of the lake (Ref. 80784).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic. Tropical; 12°S - 13°S, 34°E - 35°E
Africa: endemic to Lake Malawi; occurs between Chuanga and Nkhungu Reef in Mozambique (Ref. 80784, 89864).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 7.6 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 80784)
Morphology | Morphometrics
Melanochromis mossambiquensis is distinguished from its congeners, except M. auratus, M. dialeptos, and M. wochepa, by a steeper-angled vomer (72–80° vs. 35–53°). It is distinguished from M.
auratus by a mid-lateral and a dorso-lateral black stripe that is narrower than the submarginal black band in the dorsal fin, while in M. auratus the submarginal dorsal stripe is narrower than those on the flank. The
abdominal yellow stripes in M. mossambiquensis are thin and never cover the entire lower abdomen as they do in M. auratus. The lower lobe of the caudal fin contains black spots while that of female M. auratus is yellow without black markings. Male M. mossambiquensis are distinguished from those of M. auratus by the lack of a narrow, yellow mid-lateral stripe. Male M. mossambiquensis are distinguished from those of M. wochepa by a brown/black body with white dorso-lateral and mid-lateral stripes while that of male M. wochepa is blue without stripes. M. mossambiquensis is distinguished from M. wochepa by a shallower body as expressed in a shorter distance between the origins of the dorsal and anal fin (47.1–50.8 % vs. 49.6–54.5 % SL) and a shorter distance between the origins of the dorsal and pelvic fins (27.6–33.4 % vs. 30.1–36.4 % SL), and by a longer lower jaw (29.0–41.5 % vs. 26.7–32.5 % HL). It is distinguished from M. dialeptos by a more elongate body as expressed in a larger distance between the posterior dorsal and the pelvic fin origin
(52.9–60.7 % vs. 49.8–55.8 % SL), a longer snout (29.2–40.3 % vs. 25.9–35.2 % HL), and by fewer rows of scales on the cheek (3 or 4 vs. 4–7).
The populations observed at Metangula and N’kolongwe appear to consist of individuals with longer snouts and shallower bodies (Ref. 80784).
Gathers in foraging groups feeding from the aufwuchs of the small rocks of the intermediate habitat; territoriality is rare, but quarrels between males in breeding coloration occur (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 (11 of 100) .