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Published: 2021-10-15

Descriptions of two new shell-dwelling species of Metriaclima (Cichlidae) from Lake Malaŵi, Africa

Penn State University, 432 Forest Resources Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802.
Cichlid Press, PO Box 13608, El Paso, TX 79913.
Penn State University, 432 Forest Resources Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802. Honorary Research Associate, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Makhanda, RSA.
Pisces shell-dwelling cichlids gastropod shells


Metriaclima is the most speciose genus of rock-dwelling fishes (mbuna) found in Lake Malaŵi with 32 described species and with about 40 recognized forms that still await formal description. The genus is comprised of many geographically narrow populations restricted to specific habitat landmarks, such as reefs or islands. A few species have taken to the open sandy habitat where empty gastropod shells provide shelter. Two species of such shell-dwellers are here described as new. A combination of a black submarginal band in the dorsal and anal fins and five or fewer bars on the flank distinguishes Metriaclima ngarae sp. n. and M. gallireyae sp. n. from all other species of Metriaclima. Metriaclima ngarae sp. n. differs from M. gallireyae by a greater interorbital width and by a greater ratio of the snout length in the distance between snout tip and pelvic fin origin. Adult males of M. gallireyae have a blue-brown overall coloration obscuring the bar pattern on the flank while males of M. ngarae and those of the closely related M. lanisticola retain the bar pattern and have a coloration very similar to that of females.



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