Thomas Andersen, 2005
Cichlid Room Companion
Tribe Ectodini

Synopsis of Cardiopharynx Poll, 1942

By , 2005. image
Last updated on 25-Oct-2005

Classification: Taxonomy and phylogeny, Lake Tanganyika.

Type species: Cardiopharynx schoutedeni Poll, 1942

Adult in aquarium

Cardiopharynx schoutedeni male in the aquarium. Photo by Ad Konings. Determiner Ad Konings

Distinctive characters:

  • Spindle-shaped body, more than 3 times as long as high (3.6-3.7). The profile of the head is slightly descending.
  • Dorsal fin contains 12-15 hard-rays and 14-16 soft rays; anal fin contains 3 hard rays and 9-11 soft rays. Third ray in the ventral fins are elongated.
  • Scales large with 36-38 scales along the longitudinal line.
  • Two lateral lines.
  • Lower pharyngeal bone heart-shaped covered densely with small bicuspid teeth.
  • Outer teeth sub conic arranged in two rows.
  • The color of the body is silvery, with the throat, edge of the pelvic fins and caudal fin being black in males. Black spot situated at the base of the dorsal fin.
  • Total length 15 cm.

Species currently included:

Cardiopharynx schoutedeni Poll, 1942

Type locality:

Usumbura (Bujumbura), Burundi.

Taxonomic history:

  • Cardiopharynx schoutedeni Poll, 1942 - by Poll 1986
  • Cyathopharynx schoutedeni (Poll, 1942) - by Greenwood 1983
  • Cardiopharynx schoutedeni Poll, 1942



Link to Cardiopharynx schoutedeni in the CRC Catalogue.

Remarks on taxonomic status:

In 1983 P. H. Greenwood transferred Cardiopharynx to Cyathopharynx and regarded the former a junior synonym of the latter, because of the heart-shaped lower pharyngeal bone they have in common. This feature can also found in cichlids from outside Lake Tanganyika as stated by Poll (1986), and therefore cannot be seen as a unique character uniting all species possessing it into a single genus.

Sturmbauer & Meyer´s molecular analyses (1993) showed that Cardiopharynx may form a subclade together with Cyathopharynx and Ophthalmotilapia in the Ophthalmotilapia-clade, which also consists of the genera Ectodus, Lestradea, Cunningtonia and Aulonocranus. This has been confirmed by a recent molecular work, which has also shown that Cardiopharynx schoutedeni either is the most ancestral branch in this subclade or form the sister group of Ophthalmotilapia boops and O. nasuta (Koblmüller et al. 2004).

References (5):


Andersen, Thomas. (Oct 25, 2005). "Synopsis of Cardiopharynx Poll, 1942". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Dec 01, 2023, from: