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Bathyclarias rotundifrons is apparently a rare member of the flock of endemic deep-water clariids. Only three specimens were known to Jackson (1959), all from intermediate zone (rocky with sand patches) in water deeper than 40 meters. The maximum depth known for this species, according to Eccles (1992), is 75 meters. Konings (1990a) states that it is piscivorous. The largest known specimen, the holotype, measured 68 cm (26¾ inches) total length (FishBase).

B. rotundifrons can be distinguished from the other species of Bathyclarias by possessing all of the following characters (adapted from Greenwood, 1961: 230):

  1. Gill rakers short, length of longest gill raker (on outer arch) divided by length of longest gill filament = 0.3-0.6;
  2. Barbels rounded in cross section, smooth and simple;
  3. Body smooth, not pitted;
  4. Gills and suprabranchial cavity not black;
  5. Tooth band on vomer less than 1¼ times as broad as the premaxillary band, with fine, discrete, pointed teeth;
  6. Maxillary barbel not reaching beyond tip of pectoral fin; and
  7. Snout short, its length contained at least 5 times in head length, the head chubby.


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The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa:

Last Update: 18 October 1999
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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