Lethrinops macracanthus, male, photo copyright © by G. F. Turner

Lethrinops macracanthus Trewavas
Text & photo by Guest Author: Prof. George F. Turner, Bangor University, UK
This is one of the larger deep-bodied benthic Lethrinops found in deep-water trawlable areas. It is distinguished from L. gossei by the absence of a V-shaped cleft in the upper jaw. It differs from L. "deep-water albus", L. longimanus, and L. mylodon in its larger number of gillrakers (usually 19-23 lower or ceratobranchial rakers) and vertical bars (usually 8-9 under the dorsal fin) and from the latter in the less heavily molariform pharyngeal dentition. Ripe males are coppery with vertical bars more prominent and a bluish iridescence on the head (see photo above). The maximum size is at least 19 cm (7½ inches) SL (standard length, without caudal fin), roughly 25 cm (10 inches) TL (total length). Stomach contents are reported as mainly chironomids, but also some diatoms, small snails, ostracods, copepods and annelids. The holotype is from near Monkey Bay. Eccles & Lewis (1979) examined material from SE Arm, Domira Bay, and Nkhata Bay and stated that this species was widespread in southern Malawi, often forming a substantial proportion of the catch at 20-35 fathoms (37-65m, 120-210 feet), but was also occasionally found as deep as 40 fathoms (74m, 240 feet). This depth range has been heavily exploited by stern trawlers. FAO (1976) reported that L. macracanthus comprised 10-15% of the experimental trawl catch weight in the SE Arm in 1972, but it was virtually absent by 1974. In the early 1990s, I found and photographed a single large specimen in a haul from 22-30m south of Boadzulu Island. It does not seem to have been recorded in subsequent surveys in the area.

Lethrinops macracanthus, photo copyright © by M. K. Oliver
Lethrinops macracanthus (photo © by M.K. Oliver)


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The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa:  MalawiCichlids.com

Suggested citation of this page:
Turner, G.F. (2004) Lethrinops macracanthus. http://malawicichlids.com/mw08049.htm. In: "The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa" (M.K. Oliver, webmaster), http://malawicichlids.com. Accessed [date].
Page by G.F. Turner first posted: 31 May 2004
Previous version (original page by M.K. Oliver) last updated: 13 June 1998
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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