Morphology Data of Coptodon rendalli
Identification keys
Main Ref. Pullin, R.S.V. (ed.), 1988
Appearance refers to Male; Female
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs no special organs
Different appearance males alike females
Different colors males alike females
Remarks Mature fish greenish with pink or reddish bellies (Ref. 6150)

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features none
Body shape lateral fusiform / normal
Cross section compressed
Dorsal head profile clearly convex
Type of eyes more or less normal
Type of mouth/snout more or less normal
Position of mouth terminal
Type of scales cycloid scales

Diagnosis: A large, deep-bodied species with a steep head profile, narrow head and small mouth; often appearing brownish with a white belly, some individuals have bright red bellies (Ref. 118638). The sexes look very similar, although males are usually larger (Ref. 118638). Very difficult to distinguish from Coptodon zillii, but C. rendalli usually have a steeper head profile and less prominent vertical bars; in East Africa, the tailfin of C. rendalli is often divided into a brownish upper part and yellowish lower part, whereas that of C. zillii is uniform and spotted (Ref. 118638).

Description: moderately deep-bodied, ovoid shaped; head relatively short; mouth small (Ref. 52307).

Colouration: head and body mid to dark olive-green dorsally, paling over the flanks (Ref. 4967, 34290). Body usually with vertical bars only (Ref. 4967, 34290), 6-8 on head and body (Ref. 52307). Scales with a dark basal crescent (Ref. 4967, 34290, 52307). Dorsal fin olive-green with a thin red margin and white to grey dark oblique spots on the soft rays; caudal fin spotted on dorsal half and red or yellow on ventral half (Ref. 4967, 34290). Lower lips, throat, lower parts of cheeks and opercles, breast and belly, as well as some lower parts of caudal peduncle, light to deep red (depending on behavioral situation) in most, but not all populations; anal fin reddish (Ref. 52307).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Coptodon rendalli

Lateral Lines 1 Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 29 - 32
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Barbels 0
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only) absent
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb
total 8 - 12
total 29 - 29


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes extending over most of the back length
Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total 15 - 17
Soft-rays total 10 - 13
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes more or less truncate; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 3 - 3
Soft-rays total 9 - 10

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    thoracic  beneath origin of D1
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Luna, Susan M.
Modified by Boden, Gert
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