More Telmatochromis temporalis? Yes, please!

A male of the slender morph photographed at a depth of 14 m. Reprinted by permission from Springer Nature Customer Service Centre GmbH: Springer Nature, HYDROBIOLOGIA, A new morph of Telmatochromis temporalis (Cichlidae; Cichliformes) from Lake Tanganyika, Tetsumi Takahashi, Copyright 2020.

I have made it no secret that I am a big fan of the Telmatochromis genus. Containing roughly six species, most members of this genus resemble species of the Julidochromis genus. Most are torpedo shaped and quite small. One of my favorites, however, is the bulldog of the genus – temporalis. If you follow this species you know that the normal temporalis, not to be confused with the dwarf morph, sp. “temporalis shell,” is quite robust in body shape. Unlike it’s torpedo-shaped cousins, both normal and dwarf morphs of temporalis also have a very noticeable nuchal hump. In fact, both sexes of temporalis posses this hump, with the male’s being more pronounced. In my experience, males are very territorial, not unlike many male cichlids. But I digress. 

The purpose of this post is the recent discovery of potentially a third temporalis morph. In a recent paper published in Hydrobiologia titled “A new morph of Telmatochromis temporalis (Cichlidae; Cichliformes) from Lake Tanganyika,” author Tetsumi Takahashi distinguishes this morph from both the normal and dwarf versions. Calling the new discovery a “slender morph,” Takahashi states, “The slender morph tended to have a slenderer body and narrower interorbital than did the normal and dwarf morphs… and more dorsal-fin spines than did the dwarf morph…” Clearly the “slender morph” specimen in the photograph above lacks the nuchal hump that its fellow Temporalis possess. Takahshi’s evidence, as provided in the article, is quite detailed and compelling for this third morph. With respect to the availability of this third morph in the hobby, I have seen no evidence of its collection but will continue to monitor this. 

Where was this third morph discovered? Off Kasenga, Zambia. If you’re as interested in the Telmatochromis genus as I am, I encourage you to get your hands on a copy of the paper. You can see the full citation below. 

Full Reference: Takahashi, T. A new morph of Telmatochromis temporalis (Cichlidae; Cichliformes) from Lake Tanganyika. Hydrobiologia (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-020-04433-5

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