Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Melanochromis: Greek, melas, melanos = black + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; demersal; pH range: 7.3 - 8.5; dH range: 7 - 18. Tropical; 24°C - 26°C (Ref. 2060); 13°S - 15°S
Africa: endemic to Lake Malawi (Ref. 5663, 89864).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 12.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5663)
(total): 17 - 18;
soft rays: 7 - 8. Diagnosis: Females and subadults of Melanochromis chipokae are distinguished from those of all other Melanochromis species by a yellow ground colour and a black submarginal band in the dorsal and anal fins (Ref. 89864). Male M. chipokae in breeding colour have a blue occipital region, a dark-blue/black body with two wide, light-blue horizontal stripes, and a blue dorsal fin with a wide white margin; they differ from males of most Melanochromis species with a similar colour pattern, except M. robustus and M. heterochromis, by the blue occipital region that is black or gray in M. melanopterus, M. vermivorus, M. simulans, M. loriae, M. robustus and M. mossambiquensis (Ref. 89864). Melanochromis chipokae males and females differ from M. robustus by a narrower interorbital width, 17.5-23.3% of head length vas. 26.1-29.6%, and from M. heterochromis by a longer lower jaw, 36.5-38.9% of head length vs. 29.3-34.6% (Ref. 89864).
It prefers sandy patches among rock (Ref. 5595). In general, only solitary individuals are encountered, wandering through the intermediate habitat searching for larger invertebrates and, perhaps, small fishes (Ref. 89864). It may have suffered over-fishing by collectors of ornamental fishes because this species was rather common in the aquarium hobby more than 20 years ago (Ref. 89864).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Female is mouthbrooder.
Maréchal, C., 1991. Melanochromis. p. 258-265. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse, G.G. Teugels and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 4. (Ref. 5663)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: ; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01445 (0.00677 - 0.03085), b=2.98 (2.81 - 3.15), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.2 ±0.73 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (tm<1).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (16 of 100) .