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).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; depth range 3 - 40 m (Ref. 5595), usually 5 - 20 m (Ref. 89864). Tropical; 24°C - 26°C (Ref. 2060); 9°S - 14°S
Africa: endemic to Lake Malawi (Ref. 5663, 89864).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 11.4 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5663)
(total): 18 - 19;
soft rays: 7 - 8. Diagnosis: Female and subadult Melanochromis loriae are distinguished from their congeners, except those of M. melanopterus, M. lepidiadaptes, and M. kaskazini, by a white to cream coloured body vs. yellow to brown in other congeners, two black horizontal stripes on the flank, a black submarginal band in the dorsal fin, and black markings on the lower lobe of the caudal fin; Melanochromis loriae is distinguished from M. melanopterus and M. kaskazini by a shorter lower jaw, 31.9-35.2% of head length vs. 37.2-41.7% on M. melanopterus and 36.4-44.6% in M. kaskazini, and from M. lepidiadaptes by the higher number of tooth rows, 5-7 vs. 2-3 (Ref. 89864). Male Melanochromis loriae in breeding colouration are distinguished from their congeners, except M. melanopterus, M. simulans, and M. robustus, by a broad black band in the spinous part of the dorsal fin, absent in all congeners; it is distinguished from M. melanopterus and M. simulans by a shorter lower jaw, 31.9-35.2% of head length vs. 37.2-41.7% in M. melanopterus and 40% in M. simulans, and from M. robustus by a shallower caudal peduncle, 11.7-12.6% of standard length vs. 12.9-14.4% (Ref. 89864).
The preferred habitat is mostly rocky with little sand, and the majority of individuals occur at a depth ranging between 5 and 20 meters (Ref. 6307, 89864). It is an omnivore, feeding mainly from the Aufwuchs on rocks; in addition to algae also cichlid fry and catfish eggs are observed in the stomach contents (Ref. 89864).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Females are mouthbrooders (Ref. 2060).
Konings, A.F. and J.R. Stauffer Jr., 2012. Review of the Lake Malawi genus Melanochromis (Teleostei: Cichlidae) with a description of a new species. Zootaxa 3258:1-27. (Ref. 89864)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: ; aquarium: commercial
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
): 3.4 ±0.5 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (15 of 100) .