Aethiomastacembelus shiranus, photo © by M. K. Oliver
Aethiomastacembelus shiranus.
Photo copyright © by M. K. Oliver.

Checklist of the Noncichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi

Listed below are all the fishes other than Cichlidae that are known to occur in Lake Malawi, or that have been claimed to occur there. Follow the links in the family table to jump to each family's list of genera and species. In the list, there are separate links to a page about each species (usually illustrated), and to the bibliographic citation of the original taxonomic description.

As with the cichlids, here too the list includes fishes found in the lower parts of rivers and streams that flow into the lake. It also includes species found in swamps that fringe parts of the lakeshore. Some swamp fishes have been observed in sheltered, vegetated sections of the main lake (e.g., Barbus innocens; Jackson, 1961: 550). Moreover, Oliver & McKaye (1982) showed that a diverse assemblage of swamp-dwelling fishes is associated with the "floating islands" of swamp vegetation that commonly drift around the Lake's southwest arm. This blurs the distinction in habitats between the fishes of the lakeshore swamps and those of the Lake proper.

None of the twelve families is endemic to Lake Malawi, but two of the genera (the cyprinid Engraulicypris and the clariid Bathyclarias) and some of the species are endemic. For each genus and species, therefore, endemicity is indicated.

Family table

The Noncichlid Fish Families of Lake Malawi

Lungfishes Mormyrids Characins Minnows Catfishes Killifishes True Eels Spiny Eels








  1. Family Protopteridae: African lungfishes
  2. Return to family list

  3. Family Mormyridae: Elephant noses, Snout fishes
  4. Return to family list


  5. Family Alestidae: African Tetras or Characins
  6. Return to family list


  7. Family Cyprinidae: Minnows, Barbs
  8. Return to family list


  9. Family Amphiliidae: Mountain catfishes
  10. Return to family list


  11. Family Bagridae: Bagrid catfishes
  12. Return to family list


  13. Family Clariidae: Air-breathing catfishes
  14. Return to family list


  15. Family Mochokidae: Suckermouth catlets & Squeaker catfishes
  16. Return to family list


  17. Family Nothobranchiidae: Annual killifishes
  18. Return to family list


  19. Family Poeciliidae: Topminnows
  20. Return to family list


  21. Family Anguillidae: True eels
  22. Return to family list


  23. Family Mastacembelidae: Spiny eels
  24. Return to family list

Using a spreadsheet or database software is a good way to keep genera and species information easily organized and accessible. Today there are software applications for just about any purpose you can imagine even facility management which uses cmms software. Day-to-day operations of facility equipment can be greatly improved with the use of Mapcon cmms software.

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The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa:

Last Update: 7 March 2018
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
Copyright © 1997-2021 by M. K. Oliver, Ph.D. - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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