Thomas Andersen, 2005
Cichlid Room Companion
Tribe Ectodini

Synopsis of Grammatotria Boulenger, 1899

By , 2005. image
Last updated on 26-Oct-2005

Classification: Taxonomy and phylogeny, Lake Tanganyika.

Type species: Grammatotria lemairii Boulenger, 1899

Male in the aquarium A male of Grammatotria lemairii in the aquarium of Julien Ruiz [France]. Photo by Julien Ruiz. (2004-12-20). determiner Patrick Tawil

Distinctive characters:

  • Body very elongated, 4-4.5 times as long as high, spindle-shaped towards the caudal. The ventral and dorsal profiles are symmetric. The head is large with a very elongated snout.
  • 4-6 series of conical and more or less bent teeth, external teeth largest situated more or less horizontally at the edge of the lower jaw.
  • Triangular pharyngeal bone with mainly sub-conical molars, including two very large and oval molars at the back.
  • The dorsal fin contains 15-16 hard rays and 13-15 soft rays; anal fin contains 3 hard rays and 9-12 soft rays.
  • 44-59 (M 49) scales along the longitudinal line.
  • Total length 26 cm.
  • The color of the body is silvery with a distinct black spot on the caudal peduncle.

Species currently included:

Grammatotria lemairii Boulenger, 1899

Type locality:

Moliro, DR Congo (former Zaire).


Parectodus hemelrycki Poll, 1943

Link to Grammatotria lemairii in the CRC Catalogue.

Remarks on taxonomic status:

Molecular phylogenies has shown that the most ancient split within the Ectodini tribe is observed between Grammatotria lemairii and all other taxa, and Grammatotria lemairii therefore represent the most ancestral branch and species within the tribe (Sturmbauer & Meyer, 1993; Koblmüller et al. 2004).

This result is in contrast with a previous morphological study (Liem 1981). Liem regarded Grammatotria lemairii as the morphologically most derived species of the Ectodini, based upon characters considered specialized when compared with Astatotilapia, which he treated as generalized and ancestral. The above mentioned molecular analyses has shown that this properly is not the case, as the Ectodini tribe is considered to be much older than the species flock in Lake Victoria, which Astatotilapia has been shown to be closely related to (Sturmbauer & Meyer, 1993).

References (4):


Andersen, Thomas. (Oct 26, 2005). "Synopsis of Grammatotria Boulenger, 1899". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Apr 17, 2024, from: