Morphology Data of Malapterurus tanganyikaensis
Identification keys
Main Ref. Norris, S.M., 2002
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
Cross section
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth

Diagnosis: tooth patches broad; 9-12 anal-fin rays; 38-41 vertebrae; 19-20 caudal-fin rays (ii-7-8-ii-iii); stout, cylindrical head; broad, square snout; body finely spotted (Ref. 44050).

Description: moderately depressed; fairly heavy-bodied and stout-headed; snout broad and blunt; 15-17 abdominal vertebrae; 23-25 caudal vertebrae (Ref. 44050).

Coloration: bicolored, often distinctly so; dorsum and flank light brown; venter and underside of head unpigmented; flank and dorsum well-marked with spots, some as large as 2-3 eye diameters; pectoral and pelvic fins in adults pigmented lightly in same color as flank, but generally clear in juveniles; anal fin with clear distal margin in all ages, lightly pigmented in juveniles, matching ground pigmentation of flank in adults; caudal saddle and bar pattern very faintly developed in specimens up to 60mm SL, with saddle and bar regions only slightly darker than ground color, and saddle, extending to body mid-depth, sometimes merging with caudal bar dorsally; adipose fin in juveniles matches caudal saddle, except for a pale distal border; adipose fin pigmentation in adults matches dorsum; caudal fin of juveniles bears pigmented bar bracketed by pale basal crescent and clear distal margin; caudal fin in adults generally matches body ground color, with scattered small spots and faintly developed pale basal crescent and a clear distal margin; melanistic specimen known, with unusually dark pigmentation on body and fins (Ref. 44050). Coloration similar to M. microstoma and M. monsembeensis with small dark marks rather uniformly distributed over entire body and caudal fin; with no distinct dark or pale bars or bands. Differs from M. microstoma in having a broader mouth, fewer vertebrae (vs. 44-46), and fewer ceratobranchial gill rakers (vs. 20-24). Differs from M. monsembeensis in having fewer vertebrae (vs. 47-48) (Ref. 34006).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Malapterurus tanganyikaensis

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
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 4 - 21
on upper limb 2 - 4
total 6 - 23
total 38 - 45


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes greatly reduced or absent
Fins number
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total
Soft-rays total
Adipose fin present

Caudal fin

Attributes more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 0
Soft-rays total 9 - 12

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Spines     0
Soft-rays   9 - 10
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    abdominal
Spines     0
Soft-rays   6 - 7
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Musschoot, Tobias
Modified by Torres, Armi G.
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cfm script by eagbayani, 17.10.00, php script by rolavides, 13/03/08 ,  last modified by sortiz, 06.27.17