Above: This beautiful male pursuit predator belongs to one of the less specialized and more colorful Rhamphochromis species, most likely R. brevis if it is one of the described species. Photo copyright © 2001 by M. K. Oliver. However, this is the form featured on the cover of George Turner's book as Rhamphochromis 'long fin yellow,' which Turner believes to be undescribed. The life coloration of this apparently rare, and certainly little-known, species had never been recorded before I took these photos (see also below) in 1971. The specimen was trawled 14 August 1971 at a depth of 100-120 feet (30-37 m) at trawl station Mpemba I (between Boadzulu Island and Namiasi, in the southeast arm of Lake Malawi). This was the only individual captured on that occasion.
Turner (1996: 44), unaware of the earlier capture, summarized what is known about this species:
This and other relatively unspecialized Rhamphochromis species resemble Dimidiochromis spp. in their general silvery, predatory facies; in the color pattern of horizontal stripes (secondarily lost in most Rhamphochromis except R. macrophthalmus); and also in some specializations, including similarities in jaw morphology. I suspect that Dimidiochromis may be the sister group of Rhamphochromis (or of some combination of Rhamphochromis, Diplotaxodon, and Pallidochromis).
Below: The venter (underside) of the 1971 specimen. Photo copyright © 2001 by M. K. Oliver.
|Last Update: 15 August 2001
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