Morphology Data of Pelvicachromis pulcher
Identification keys
Main Ref. Stiassny, M.L.J., A. Lamboj, D. De Weirdt and G.G. Teugels, 2008
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance always different morphology between mature adults
Different colors
Remarks This species presents a very pronounced sexual dimorphism: males much larger and more elongate than females, with dorsal, anal and pelvic fins longer and more pointed, and caudal fin asymmetrically rhomboidal (Ref. 53405).

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral fusiform / normal
Cross section
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Type of scales

Diagnosis: body elongate, moderately compressed, its depth 28.4-36.8% of standard length; head length 27.8-34.5% of standard length; 4-5 rows of monocuspid teeth in jaws; dorsal fin usually with spots or bands, dark posteriorly; lower part of body often reddish in life (Ref. 53405). Black mid-lateral band extends over caudal fin; base of dorsal fin heavily pigmented dark grey or black (Ref. 81260).

Description: moderately gracile (body depth 29.3-38.3%, mean 34.3% SL); head length 27.8-33.0% SL; dorsal head profile smoothly rounded to snout; snout short, 21.7-36.6% HL, rounded; ventral body wall gently rounded to caudal peduncle which is usually deeper than long; distance from snout to pelvic origin 33.4-40.9%, mean 37.2% SL (Ref. 81260). Pharyngeal jaw teeth bicuspid; no micro-gillrakers; scales cycloid (Ref. 53405). 8-12 tuberculate rakers on hypobranchial and ceratobranchial of first gill arch, 3-6 short epibranchial rakers; caudal fin rounded in both sexes, sometimes upper half elongate and lobe-like in males; males usually 15-25% larger than females, with soft dorsal and anal rays more elongated (Ref. 81260). Caudal fin always rounded in females, in males it can be rounded, rhomboid or sometimes with a slightly elongated upper lobe (Ref. 52307).

Coloration: live: males: dark olivaceous-green above, with dark, grey longitudinal band running from eye to posterior part of dorsal-fin base; another dark grey horizontal band extends from snout to hind margin of caudal fin; lower part of body light olivaceous-green, belly pinkish; 2 narrow, dark grey cross bars on upper part of head and another at level of lower lip; opercular region olive-green, with golden reflections and metallic, copper-red to black spot, edged with bright green ventrally; dorsal fin hyaline except for black area behind dark red distal margin, with light blue submarginal band; pectoral fins hyaline except for some traces of olive-green at base and light violet near hind margin; pelvic fins violet, with black anterior margin and bright blue submarginal band; anal fin violet and black-edged; caudal fin violet above horizontal band and olive-green or orange below; upper caudal margin dark red, with dark orange submarginal band; sometimes 1 (rarely more) round, black, orange-edged spot on upper part of caudal fin (Ref. 53405). Cheeks and opercle variably colored: with yellow, red or blue flush; chest and belly red or yellow (rarely blue) (Ref. 81260). Females: horizontal bands on body darker grey than in males; dorsal fin lacking red and blue margins which are replaced by narrow black band; posterior black area subdivided into several irregular black zones or occasionally substituted by 1-2 round, black spots; pectoral fins hyaline; pelvic fins light pink rather than violet, and with blue and black margins; caudal fin lacking orange-red margin which is replaced by golden spots; upper part of caudal fin sometimes with 1 (or several) round, black spots bordered by golden area (Ref. 53405). Cheeks usually yellow, opercle yellow or blue; chest and belly red or violet (Ref. 81260).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Pelvicachromis pulcher

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 26 - 30
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb 8 - 12
on upper limb 3 - 6
total 12 - 17


Dorsal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   0
Ventral  0
Spines total 14 - 17
Soft-rays total 8 - 10
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin


Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 3 - 3
Soft-rays total 6 - 8

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  
Pelvics Attributes  
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Musschoot, Tobias
Modified by Musschoot, Tobias
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