Thomas Andersen, 2005
Cichlid Room Companion
Tribe Ectodini

Xenotilapia sp. "blue dorsal" (Xenotilapia caudafasciata)

By , 2005. image
Last updated on 09-Nov-2012

Classification: Taxonomy and phylogeny, Lake Tanganyika.

Adult in Lake Tanganyika Xenotilapia sp. 'blue dorsal' at Cape Chaitika, Zambia - Photo © Evert van Ammelrooy.

This new potentially undescribed Xenotilapia species, named X. sp. 'blue dorsal', was recently discovered by the Dutchman Evert van Ammelrooy while night diving in the vicinity of Cape Chaitika in Zambia. The depth was 50 meters (app. 165 feet) and the bottom consisted of sand. X. sp. "fluorescent green", another potentially undescribed species was also found at this locality.

Adult in Lake Tanganyika Xenotilapia sp. 'blue dorsal' at Cape Chaitika, Zambia - Photo © Evert van Ammelrooy.

Xenotilapia sp. 'blue dorsal' is characterized by a laterally compressed body, a shimmering light-blue dorsal fin, whitish ventral fins, a protruding upper lip and a total length of 10-12 cm.

From the shape of the ventral fins, there is no doubt that the depicted cichlid belongs to the genus Xenotilapia. The overall shape of the body and especially the protruding upper lip of X. sp. 'blue dorsal' have some resembling with X. caudafasciata, but many things differ though; the vertical black bars on the caudal fin of X. caudafasciata males are not present, but the caudal fin is instead lined with two whitish blue lines along the edges, as also seen in e.g. X. bathyphila and X. ornatipinnis. The dorsal fin of X. caudafasciata is adorned with a broad yellowish/whitish band, with no blue at all and the horizontal black bar on the ventral fins of X. caudafasciata is absent in X. sp. 'blue dorsal'. The spot on the opercula of X. sp. 'blue dorsal' is much smaller than on X. caudafasciata and finally it seems, that the head-profile of X. sp. 'blue dorsal' have a marked bend, whereas the head-profile of X. caudafasciata is much more rounded.

Whether X. sp. 'blue dorsal' shares the same characteristics of the teeth as X. caudafasciata, namely the inward pointing outer teeth in the lower jaw, is not known.

Preserved at MRAC Xenotilapia caudafasciata preserved individual at the Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale [MRAC] collection. Photo by Ad Konings. determiner Ad Konings

A discussion of this potentially undescribed Xenotilapia can be found in the Cichlid Room Companion Forum.

Addendum: with the import of X. caudafasciata in 2007 and the opportunity to observe live specimens, it quickly became evident that X. sp. ”blue dorsal” was not an unknown species, but in fact represented a female X. caudafasciata, hence the differences in coloration (Andersen 2012).

Link to Xenotilapia caudafasciata in the CRC Catalogue.

References (1):


Andersen, Thomas. (Dec 18, 2005). "Xenotilapia sp. "blue dorsal" (Xenotilapia caudafasciata)". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Sep 27, 2023, from: