New Lake Victoria cichlid described

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A new species of Haplochromis has been named after the Father of Modern Taxonomy, Carolus Linnaeus (or Carl von Linn), by Dutch scientists.

The description of Haplochromis vonlinnei from Lake Victoria is published in the latest issue of the journal Zoologische Mededelingen by Martien van Oijen and Marnix de Zeeuw.

According to the authors, H. vonlinnei is distinguished from other members of the genus in being moderately large sized, moderately slender macrognathic species with a smoothly curved dorsal head profile, a rather acute snout, and strongly curved teeth.

The species has a distinct mid-lateral band, which is broader in males than in females, a thinner and interrupted dorsal lateral band.

A ripening male had the snout and cheek brownish grey, the gill cover and the rostral part of the flank golden brown, and the ventral side, belly, caudo-ventral part of the flank and the caudal peduncle blackish.

The new species most closely resembles H. pyrrhopteryx in overall mophology, but differs in its colour pattern (the ventral region is blackish in both sexes and a midlateral band is also absent in H. pyrrhopteryx).

Another species with a similar body shape is H. altigenis, which differs in having a more prominent premaxillary pedicel, deeper cheek and less strongly curved oral teeth.

Haplochromis vonlinnei is found only in the Mwanza Gulf region of Lake Victoria and is a piscivorous species, with small haplochromine cichlids being found in the guts of dissected specimens.

The description of H. vonlinnei is published 250 years to the day considered to be the start of modern taxonomy (1 January 1758).

For more information, see the paper, van Oijen, MJP and MP de Zeeuw (2008) Haplochromis vonlinnei spec. nov., a piscivorous haplochromine cichlid (Teleostei, Perciformes) from the Mwanza Gulf area of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. Zoologische Mededelingien 82, pp. 167"175.