Cichlid Room Companion

Tribe Ectodini

Synopsis of Cyathopharynx Regan, 1920

By , 2007.
Last updated on 09-Feb-2007

Thomas Andersen, 2005

Type species: Cyathopharynx foai (Vaillant, 1899)

Cyathopharynx foai

Cyathopharynx foai male in Lake Tangayika Photo by Michael Karlsson.

Distinctive characters:

  • Oblong and relatively high body, less than 3 times longer than high, with convex dorsal and ventral profiles
  • Dorsal XIII-XIV, 13-15. Anal III, 8-10. The soft rays of the unpaired fins are prolonged and may reach beyond the origin of the caudal fin in the male. Ventral fins in mature males prolonged without spatulae, nearly reaching to the caudal fin. Caudal deeply cresentric with filamentous lobes in the male.
  • Small subterminal mouth. Teeth tricuspid, conical or subconic, arranged in 3-5 lines.
  • Lower pharyngeal bone with the posterior border rounded, and covered densely with very fine more or less bicuspid teeth.
  • Small scales , 48-67 along the longitudinal line.
  • Two lateral lines.
  • Total length 210 mm

Species currently included:

Cyathopharynx foai (Vaillant, 1899)

Type locality:

Lake Tanganyika

Taxonomic history:

  • Cyathopharynx foai (Vaillant, 1899) - by Konings 1998
  • Cyathopharynx furcifer (Vaillant, 1899) - by Poll 1946
  • Cyathopharynx foae (Vaillant, 1899) – by Regan 1920
  • Ophthalmotilapia foae (Vaillant, 1899) – Pellegrin 1904
  • Ectodus foae Vaillant, 1899


  • Tilapia grandoculis Boulenger, 1899
  • Cyathopharynx grandoculis (Boulenger, 1899)

Link to Cyathopharynx foai in the CRC Catalogue.

Cyathopharynx furcifer (Boulenger, 1898)

Type locality:

Kinyamkolo, Zambia.

Taxonomic history:

  • Cyathopharynx furcifer (Boulenger, 1898) - by Regan 1920
  • Paratilapia furcifer Boulenger, 1898



Link to Cyathopharynx furcifer in the CRC Catalogue.

Remarks on taxonomic status:

Konings discovered two species of Cyathopharynx living and breeding sympatric at Moliro, D. R. Congo: Cyathopharynx furcifer, and a species that fits the description of C. foai, a taxa long considered a junior synonym of C. furcifer, and Konings therefore suggested that C. foai should be rehabilitated as a valid taxa (Konings 1998). Note that not all authors follow this suggestion.

Besides the two described species of Cyathopharynx, several potentially un-described species might very well exist in the Lake as well, as populations of Cyathopharynx has been found in the northern part of the Lake, which has some similarities with C. furcifer or C. foai from the southern part, but also differ in both morphology and coloration.

The molecular analysis of the tribe Ectodini by Koblmüller et al. (2004) showed that Cyathopharynx form a subclade within the Ophthalmotilapia-clade, together with the genera Cardiopharynx and Ophthalmotilapia. Interestingly the analysis suggest that Cyathopharynx furcifer forms a cluster together with O. heterodonta and O. ventralis (could actually be C. foai, which is not considered a valid taxa by Koblmüller at al.)

References (8):


Andersen, Thomas. (February 09, 2007). "Synopsis of Cyathopharynx Regan, 1920". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on January 24, 2021, from: