Wednesday, January 4, 2012

[Ichthyology • 2011] Stigmatochromis macrorhynchos & S. melanchros • 2 new Stigmatochromis from southern Lake Malaŵi

Species of Stigmatochromis are haplochromine cichlids endemic to Lake Malaŵi, and the genus currently includes four species, S. woodi (type species), S. modestus, S. pholidophorus, and S. pleurospilus. The latter two are known from only their holotypes. Herein, we describe two additional species, Stigmatochromis macrorhynchos and Stigmatochromis melanchros from southern Lake Malaŵi.

Keywords: haplochromine cichlids, sand-dwelling cichlids

Fig. 1 A, Stigmatochromis pholidophorus; adult individual (approximately 13 cm TL) at Chiofu Bay, Malaŵi in Lake Malaŵi. B, territorial male Stigmatochromis woodi (approximately 22 cm TL) guarding his sand bower at Luwala Reef, Malaŵi, Lake Malaŵi.

Fig. 2 Stigmatochromis macrorhynchos. A, PSU4774, holotype, 128.2 mm SL, off Domwe Island, Malaŵi, Lake Malaŵi. B, non-territorial male (approximately 12 cm TL) at Mumbo Island, Malaŵi, Lake Malaŵi.

Stigmatochromis macrorhynchos

Etymology: Specific epithet a noun in apposition from Greek makros meaning “long” and rhynchos meaning “snout,” referring to the elongated snout of this species.

Fig. 3 Stigmatochromis melanchros. A, PSU4944, holotype, 160.7 mm SL, Mazinzi Reef, Malaŵi, Lake Malaŵi. B, male (approximately 19 cm TL). C, female (approximately 17 cm TL) at Mazinzi Reef, Malaŵi, Lake Malaŵi.

Stigmatochromis melanchros

Etymology: Specific epithet is a noun in apposition derived from the Greek melas, meaning “black” and from khros meaning “skin” or “surface of body” in reference to the overall black color of the breeding males.

Remarks: Stigmatochromis melanchros is a piscivore that breeds in rocky reefs where territorial males defend the vertical face of a large boulder near the sandy bottom. This differs from the sympatric S. woodi; males of which build large bowers on the open sand away from any rocks (Fig. 1B).

Stauffer, J. R. Jr, Cleaver-Yoder, R. M. & Konings, A. F. 2011. Two new species of Stigmatochromis (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from Lake Malawi, Africa. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 124 (3): 212–222. DOI: 10.2988/10-30.1 :