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Common names:

Taxonomic tree
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish)
Order: Cichliformes (Cichlids)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids)
Genus: Pundamilia
Species: Pundamilia igneopinnis (Seehausen & Lippitsch 1998)
Number of Occurrancies: 6

Etymology (based on Scharpf & Lazara, 2019) 

  • Pundamilia: Kishwahili word meaning “striped horse” (i.e., zebra), referring to distinct vertical bars permanently displayed in most species.

  • igneopinnis: igneus, meaning flame; pinna, meaning fin; the one with burning fins, referring to bright-orange fins surrounding deep-black body, resembling a piece of burning coal. 

Synonyms:click here to view synonyms on FishBase, but also see special remarks below

Type locality: Speke Gulf, Igombe Island, Lake Victoria, Tanzania. Holotype at Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie (RMNH)

General identification features for haplochromine cichlids

  • A single nostril on each side of the head; dorsal fin with contineous spinous and soft-rayed parts; lateral line interrupted(with anterior superior part and posterior inferior part)

  • Ctenoid scales

  • Juveniles lack tilapia mark (dark spot at the posterior end of the dorsal fin)

Distinguishing characters for the genus (From Seehausen et al., 1998)

  • Shallow to moderately steep, and straight or slightly concave dorsal head profile, usually with a concavity rostrad of the eye, hence, slighly concave in lateral view; 

  • A mouth gape that is inclined upwards rostrally, and a distinct (usually permanently displayed vertical bar pattern on the flanks, that, in mature males often fade away towards the base of dorsal fin; 

  • Unicuspid and accutely pointed outer teeth, the crowns of which are cylindrical in cross-section, and in the upper jaw strongly recurved;

  • Egg dummies often arranged in a cluster

  • Jaw is isognathus, snout obtuse, the lower jaw slightly protruding or lower jaw prognathus; 

  • Lips not enlarged except in large males, but not thickened.

Distinguishing characters for the species(From Seehausen et al., 1998)

  • Medium-sized elongate haplochromine with straight dorsal head profile, acutely pointed unicuspid outer teeth with recurved tips (outer teeth are distinctively longer than the teeth in the first inner row;

  • Adults have filamentous extension on the fins, particulary the pelvic fin

  • Males are velvety black with bright yellow or orrange fins, and with 6-7 narrower vertical bars on the flanks.

  • Females are dark-grey brown and grey-brown fins without yellow lappets;

  • Small spots in place of egg dummies on the anal fin.

Taxonomic remarks: We adopt the genus Pundamilia, which is valid in Catalog of Fishes (Eschmeyer et al., 2019), based on Seehausen et al. 1998, although FishBase (Froese and Pauly, 2019) lists the species in genus Haplochromis based on Van Oijen 1996. 

Distribution in Uganda: Lake Victoria and Victoria Nile

Occurence: Native

Habitat: Restricted to rocky habitats, in large crevices. 

Feeding: Data is scanty, but may feed on filamentous green algae and blue green algae and detritus.   

Biology: Little information on the life-history, but the species is polygynous mouth-brooder with maternal parental care (Seehausen et al. 1998).

Economic importance/End use: Unknown. 

IUCN conservation status: click here to view IUCN status

Threats: Predation by Nile perch and habitat degradation are the main threats, and possibly alteration of water flow through damming for riverine populations.

Main references

  • Seehausen, O., Lippitsch, E., Bouton, N. and Zwennes, H. 1998. Mbipi, the rock-dwelling cichlids of Lake Victoria: description of three new genera and fifteen new species (Teleostei). Ichtyological exploration of Freshwaters 9: 129-228.

  • Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2019. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (02/2019)

  • Sharpf C, Lazara J.K. 2019. Fish Name Etymology Database v4.

  • Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2019. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 1 July 2019. Available at: (Accessed 10 July 2019)

  • van Oijen, M.J.P. 1996. The generic classification of haplochromine cichlids of Lake Victoria, East Africa. Zoologische Verhandelingen 302: 57-110.


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Natugonza, V. & Musinguzi, L. (editors) 2021. Freshwater Biodiversity Portal for Uganda., version (01/2021).


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