To date, about 330 currently recognized species have been described from the haplochromine
cichlid species flock endemic to Lake Malawi, Africa. Several hundred additional species
await taxonomic treatment. A new species from this flock belonging to the genus
Otopharynx is described from the deep waters of Lake Malawi. This species (known from
only two demersal trawls made at different localities in water 78-135 m deep) is characterized
by the presence of three distinct spots that do not extend to the dorsum and by moderately
stout, bicuspid oral jaw teeth in outer series, placing it in the genus Otopharynx.
It is a relatively deep-bodied member of this genus that differs from all other three-spotted
cichlids by its fleshy, lobed lips. The greatly hypertrophied lips in this species may serve
a sensory function by acting as an enlarged substrate for the expression of numerous taste
buds in a peri-oral field. Additional characters are presented that distinguish this new
species from its congeners. The genus Otopharynx is not defined on the basis of
synapomorphies and is likely an artificial group. Nevertheless, it is a recognizable taxon
that, for the time being, serves a useful purpose in organizing members of an exceedingly
complex species flock, the systematics of which is far from complete.