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: Haplochromis: Greek, Haploos = single + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335); sphex: From the Greek 'σϕήξ', wasp, referring to the colouration of males; like the wasp, males of this species are typically yellow with black stripes (Ref. 85523).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; depth range ? - 10 m (Ref. 85523). Tropical
Africa: Lake Victoria (Ref. 85523).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 8.2 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 85523)
Morphology | Morphometrics
Vertebrae: 29 - 31. Diagnosis: Haplochromis sphex is a small sized (less than 9 cm standard length), slender (body depth less than 32% of standard length) micrognathic species, with mainly bicuspid teeth in the oral jaws; dorsal head profile straight to moderately curved (Ref. 85523). The colouration of the sexually active males is yellow with blackish longitudinal, interrupted bands and vertical bars, producing a so-called 'chess board pattern'; this pattern also occurs in several oral shelling molluscivores, insectivores and algae scrapers, but these species generally are larger, have a deeper body, have a strongly curved dorsal head profile and a lower jaw length/width ratio of less than 1.5, whereas in Haplochromis sphex it ranges from 1.5 to 2.7 (Ref. 85523). It differs from other small species with a 'chess board pattern', H. bwathondii and H. sauvagei, by its shallower body; sexually active males of H. sauvagei generally have a more distinct 'chess board pattern' than H. sphex; in contrast to H. sphex, sexually active males of both H. bwathondii and H. sauvagei develop a red chest and belly; the colouration of females and quiescent males of H. sauvagei is rather similar to that of sexually active males of H. sphex (Ref. 85523).
Found in waters up to a depth of 10 m both over sand and mud (Ref. 85523). It fed mainly on phytoplankton (Cyanophyta and Aulacoseira) and occasionally on copepods (Ref. 85523). This species is a female mouth brooder (Ref. 85523).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
This species is a female mouth brooder (Ref. 85523).
de Zeeuw, M.P., M. Mietes, P. Niemantsverdriet, S. ter Huurne and F. Witte, 2010. Seven new species of detritivorous and phytoplanktivorous haplochromines from Lake Victoria. Zool. Meded. Leiden 84:201-250. (Ref. 85523)
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 (12 of 100) .