Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes
(Catfish) > Amphiliidae
(Loach catfishes) > Leptoglanidinae
Etymology: Zaireichthys: Composed form Zaire river + Greek,ichtys = fish; the habitat of this fish (Ref. 45335); lacustris: The specific name, 'lacustris', refers to the first species of the genus to be known from a lacustrine environment (Ref. 86935).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; depth range 10 - 30 m (Ref. 86935). Tropical
Africa: endemic to Lake Malawi (Ref. 86935).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 1.7  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 2.2 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 86935); 2.0 cm SL (female)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 9 - 11. Diagnosis: This species is distinguished from all other members of the genus by the short snout, which is less than one third of the head length, and by its unique habitat, occupying empty snail shells in the lake (Ref. 86935).
This species is recorded from depths of 10-30 m in the southern part and at a depth of about 20 m at Sanga in the central portion of Lake Malawi (Ref. 86935). It has been taken by trawl over the sandy substrata near Monkey Bay, where it is found in empty gastropod shells, and it is also collected in shells by divers (Ref. 86935). It is inquiline with the cichlid fish Pseudotropheus lanisticola in shells of the large gastropod Lanistes nyassanus; the co-existence of the two species in one shell is fortuitous and the catfish occupies probably the upper part of the shell which the cichlid cannot reach (Ref. 86935). Both sexes attain maturity at a standard length of about 17 mm (Ref. 86935). Mature males take up territories in shells; females may share these for some time before depositing their eggs; it appears that females leave the shells shortly after oviposition whereas the males remain in the shells, presumably to guard the brood; the small size of the buccal cavity and the narrow mouth with a width less than 2.5 egg diameters, suggests that mouth brooding is improbable (Ref. 86935). It feeds on ostracods, cladocerans, copepods, chironomid larvae and small trichopteran larvae; some diatom frustules were also observed but it is possible that these were taken fortuitously with invertebrate food items (Ref. 86935).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Mature males take up territories in shells; females may share these for some time before depositing their eggs; it appears that females leave the shells shortly after oviposition whereas the males remain in the shells, presumably to guard the brood; the small size of the buccal cavity and the narrow mouth with a width less than 2.5 egg diameters, suggests that mouth brooding is improbable (Ref. 86935).
Eccles, D.H., D. Tweddle and P.H. Skelton, 2011. Eight new species in the dwarf catfish genus Zaireichthys (Siluriformes: Amphiliidae). Smithiana Bull. (13):3-28. (Ref. 86935)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
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=0.00389 (0.00180 - 0.00842), b=3.12 (2.94 - 3.30), in cm Total Length, based on all LWR estimates for this body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.0 ±0.4 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months ().
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (11 of 100) .