Morphology Data of Pseudotropheus livingstonii
Identification keys
Main Ref. Stauffer, J.R. Jr., A.F. Konings and T.M. Ryan, 2016
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral fusiform / normal
Cross section
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Type of scales

Diagnosis: This species is distinguished from all other members in Pseudotropheus, except P. crabro, P. demasoni, and P. saulosi, by the presence of five or fewer vertical bars below the dorsal fin; most Pseudotropheus species either have no bars or have greater than five below the dorsal fin (Ref. 119458). It is distinguished from P. crabro, P. demasoni, and P. saulosi by a pale yellow to hyaline dorsal fin vs. dorsal fin heavily pigmented with black (Ref. 119458).

Description: Medium-sized to large mbuna, ovoid body with greatest depth between fourth to sixth dorsal spine (Ref. 119458). Dorsal body profile with gradual curve downward posteriorly, more pronounced towards caudal peduncle; ventral body profile almost straight between pelvic fins and base of anal fin with upward taper to caudal peduncle; dorsal head profile rounded, with smooth curve between interorbital and dorsal-fin origin; horizontal eye diameter greater than preorbital depth; eye, along horizontal axis, in center of head; snout straight to slightly concave in some individuals; isognathous jaws; tooth bands with 4-5 rows in upper jaw and 3-5 rows in lower; rows continuous through symphyses; teeth in anterior outer row bicuspid with posterior lateral teeth primarily unicuspid, teeth in inner rows tricuspid (Ref. 119458). Dorsal fin XVII-XIX spines and 9-10 soft rays; anal fin III spines and 8-9 soft rays; first 4-5 dorsal-fin spines gradually longer posteriorly; fourth spine about 2 times length of first spine; last 13 spines slightly longer posteriorly; last spine longest, about 3 times length of first spine; rayed portion of dorsal fin with subacuminate tip in females to pointed tip in males, third or fourth ray longest, to approximately 1/4 length of caudal fin in females and approximately 3/4 length of caudal in in males; anal-fin spines progressively longer posteriorly; third or fourth anal-fin ray longest, 1-2 length caudal fin in both sexes; 0-3 small yellow spots on posterior part of anal fin in females and 0-6 yellow spots on posterior part of anal fin in males; caudal fin subtruncate to slightly emarginate; pelvic fin to first or second spine of anal fin; pectoral fin moderately long and wing-shaped with upper pointed tip, length to vertical line through base of 12th or 14th dorsal-fin spine (Ref. 119458). Flank scales ctenoid with abrupt transition to small scales on breast; 32-35 lateral-line scales; cheek with 3-4 rows of small scales; caudal fin with tiny scales to 1/4 length; no scales on other fins (Ref. 119458). Gill rakers on first ceratobranchial 9-12 (Ref. 119458).

Colouration: Recently captured fish with dark brown head, white gular region with gray blotches; black spot on opercle with reflected blue highlights; laterally brown with 4 dark brown bars from dorsal fin to belly; caudal fin with yellow rays and clear membranes; anal fin brown anteriorly to first or second ray, hyaline posteriorly; 0-6 yellow ocelli in rayed portion; pectoral fins with yellow rays and clear membranes; pelvic fins black anteriorly, hyaline posteriorly (Ref. 119458). Female colouration similar to male, not as vivid (Ref. 119458).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Pseudotropheus livingstonii

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 32 - 35
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb 9 - 12
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes no striking attributes
Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total 17 - 19
Soft-rays total 9 - 10
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 8 - 9

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Spines     0
Soft-rays   5 - 5
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    thoracic  behind origin of D1
Spines     0
Soft-rays   13 - 14
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Boden, Gert
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