Lethrinops microdon Eccles & Lewis    

Text & photo by Guest Author:
Prof. George F. Turner
University of Hull, UK

Lethrinops microdon, male above, female below; photo copyright © by G. F. Turner
This is one of the bigger deep-bodied barred Lethrinops species from the deep-water mud-bottom habitats of Lake Malawi. (The upper fish is male; the lower, female.) It has suffered badly from heavy trawl fishing in the area where it was most abundant. In the SE Arm of the lake, it used to make up 44% of the cichlid catch in experimental trawls between 60 and 80 m (200-260 ft) depth, and it comprised 28% of the catch of the commercial demersal trawls. It has not been observed at all in recent surveys, and it may be extinct in the area. Although only a single specimen had previously been recorded by expert taxonomists from outside the SE Arm, fisheries recorders have recently reported that this species is still abundant near Karonga, where the habitat is similar to the southern arms. This remains to be confirmed.

It has a larger number of lower gillrakers (24-29) than most similar species. It can be quickly distinguished from most superficially similar species by the number of bars below the dorsal fin (7, compared to 8-9) and by the absence of a midlateral spot. It generally has a larger mental (chin) process than the similar, but smaller, Lethrinops 'oliveri'. Individuals of the species reach a maximum size of around 20 cm (8 inches) total length and feed on benthic diatoms, principally the filamentous Aulacoseira, with occasional crustacean and chironomid fragments.


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The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa:  MalawiCichlids.com

Suggested citation of this page:
Turner, G.F. (2004) Lethrinops microdon Eccles & Lewis. http://malawicichlids.com/mw08121.htm. In: "The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa" (M.K. Oliver, webmaster), http://malawicichlids.com. Accessed [date].
Page first posted: 14 February 2004
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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