New species of Pseudocrenilabrus cichlid described

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Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis, male.

This striking Pseudocrenilabrus species has just been described from the Upper Congo River System in Africa.


Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis was discovered in Lake Mweru in the upper Congo River drainage, on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. 

Until its description the new species had only been known as P. sp. ‘Orange’ and it is a very strikingly coloured fish with a uniform grey head and upper body, and bright orange on the ventral part of the body in males. The orange colouration is also present on the anal and caudal fins, and the authors say this becomes a bright orange-red in breeding males. There is a broad band of bright white on the edges of anal and caudal fins.

  Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis,  female. Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis,  female.

Females are generally grey with bright orange in the lower half of caudal with orange flashes at the base of the caudal and anal fins and spots and streaks on the dorsal and caudal fins. 

The male holotype measured 62.8 mm SL; the female paratype 66.7 mm SL.

The name of Pseudocrenilabrus pyrrhocaudalis is in reference to the bright orange tail which the authors say resembles a flame of fire. A common name of Fire-tailed Pseudocrenilabrus has been proposed.

This new species, which appears to be endemic to the lake, was found living sympatrically with Pseudocrenilabrus philander but whereas the latter is confined to inshore shallow water areas in Lake Mweru, the authors say that P. pyrrhocaudalis was found in demersal seine catches at open beaches. 

For more information, see the paper: Katongo, Cyprian, O. Seehausen & Jos Snoeks. 2017. A new species of Pseudocrenilabrus (Perciformes: Cichlidae) from Lake Mweru in the Upper Congo River System. Zootaxa 4237(1): 181–190.