Greg Steeves,
Cichlid Room Companion
Furu Fanatics

Gaurochromis (Greenwood 1960),a Genus review

By , 2006. image
Last updated on 17-Feb-2006

Gaurochromis (Greenwood 1960)

Name derived from the Greek “gauros” meaning superb and ‘chromis’ meaning color. The Gaurochromis genus contains small cichlids to 11.7cm. They are typically deep bodied with a straight or slightly curved cranial profile. At eye level on the forehead is an indentation which is an overflow of the premaxilla. Small fine teeth line the mouth. Smaller Gaurochromis (under 9cm) have predominantly small bicuspid teeth in the outer rows. Larger Gaurochromis have a mixture of weakly bicuspid and more frequently, unicuspid teeth. Inner teeth are tricuspid in rows of 1-3. Gaurochromis is closely co specific with Astatotilapia. Differences between the two genera include the pronounced premaxillary appendage (Gaurochromis) along with a greater number of teeth in the outer rows (44-82 Gaurochromis, 34-74 Astatotilapia Greenwood, 1980).

angustifjred foods include chaoborid and chironomid larvae.

The cranial curvature of Gaurochromis angustifrons is slightly convex with a premaxillary hump at the eyes. The lower jaw protrudes slightly over the upper mandible. Outer teeth are bicuspid and unicuspid, slender and tightly lined together. Back tooth structure is predominantly unicuspid. The inner tooth rows number between 1-3 mostly containing tricuspid teeth; occasionally unicuspid as well.

Male coloration of Gaurochromis angustifrons consists of a violet flank and head, with a golden green belly. The chest and cheeks are grey. Two even black stripes run across the shout. The dorsal fin is dark and transparent with a black band running lengthwise 1/3 from the top. The dorsal fin has 14-15 hard rays and 8-10 branched (Greenwood, 1980). The caudal and anal fins are also dusky and transparent. The anal fin may show a dark rim with orange oculli. The anal fin contains 3 hard spines and 7-9 soft. The pelvic fins are black with longer first and second rays. When stressed 7-10 faint vertical bars appear along the body

Gaurochromis angustifrons males are generally smaller than the females.

empodisma (Greenwood 1960) Off the southern tip of Kibibi Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda. 11.5cm. The cranial slope is straight. Lower jaw length is equal in protuberance with upper jaw.

Gaurochromis empodisma mature males display red on their snout and forehead. A dark turquoise coloration adorns the flanks and top portion of the body. The belly fades to a silver yellow. Both the dorsal and caudal fins are red while the anal fin is begins black, merging to red. Pelvic fins are black. Gaurochromis empodisma is found over mud substrates in water from shallow to 30m. Gut samplings included larvae of dipterous insects generally inhabiting the bottom along with diatoms. Mollusk fragments found were likely incidental ingestions. A similar and smaller species of Gaurochromis is also a bottom feeder staying nearer to shore (Greenwood, 1960). Superficially Gaurochromis empodisma closely resembles Gaurochromis obtusidens. Differences in the pharyngeal structure separate the two species(Greenwood, 1980).

iris (Hoogerhoud & Witte 1981) Lake Victoria, Possibly extinct.. 11.6cm.
Gaurochromis iris is found over mud bottom at depths varying from 3-27m.

obtusidens (Trewavas 1928) Lake Nabugabo, Uganda. Believed extinct pre-1982.

simpsoni (Greenwood 1965) Lake Nabugabo Listed as endangered in the 1996 revision of the red list, determined by Les Kaufman.


sp. “huge Edward”

References (1):


Steeves, Greg. (Feb 17, 2006). "Gaurochromis (Greenwood 1960),a Genus review". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Sep 27, 2023, from: