Wright & Page, 2006
or this months factsheet it is a "is it or isn't it"
scenario when it comes to the Lake Tanganyika Synodontis species
of S. lucipinnis and S. petricola. They are
very much alike and a tank with either species presents a challenge
to try to identify them to one or another.
Both these species are very similar and
the morphometric and meristic data on them are not too dissimilar.
Both have white dorsal and pectoral fin spines with the rays finishing
with a short filament. The fins have black triangle patterns with
the caudal sporting a black bar from base to tip. The eyes on
both species are copper coloured. Ignore the difference in colouration
between these two images as lighting and substrate will play a
part in colour shades as these two species both have a light brown/copper
body with black dots of variuos sizes and will look pretty similar
in the same water conditions.
Spotting the differences:
If you look closely at the top picture of
S. lucipinnis you will notice a clear patch or window
at the base of the ventral and anal fins, this does not occur
in S. petricola. Another more important difference is
a feature called the axillary pore which is an opening just below
the humeral process (which is a bony structure on the body just
above the pectoral fins and is a bony extension of the pectoral
girdle.) S. petricola has this feature which S. lucipinnis
lacks, although this is not
an easy identifier when they are darting around the tank. The
size difference is of course a main contender as S. lucipinnis
grows smaller at 8.0cm. (3¼ins) whereas S. petricola
reaches 11.5cm. (4½ins)
adult size. The spots on S. lucipinnis tend to be more
haphazard but this can vary from species to species even in the
same group and location. S. petricola has the body spots
in more of a rounded pattern and tends to have them in rows along
the body, with smaller spots in the head and snout area than
S. lucipinnis (which tend to be larger)
The map above shows Lake Tangyanika
and the Type locality shown in the Zambian end of the Lake near
the Zambian port of Mpulungu.
Aquarium Care: As with
most of the smaller Lake Tangyanika species they are quite peacfull
and on ocassions will spend time chasing each other around the
aquarium but no damage seems to occur with this practice. Smaller
Cichlids from the same lake would make good companions. It has
been noted that they will live quite happily in a p.H. lower than
7 but seeing that they do come from an alkaline Lake, 7 or above
would be a good point to aim for.
Remarks: In the past this
species may have been identified erroneously as S. petricola
before the work done in the 2006 paper by Wright and Page. Before
this paper smaller species were noted and captioned as S.
petricola "Dwarf". (S. lucipinnis)
Axillary pore absent; mandibular teeth 35-51;
body with large spots; fin spines white; 8-9 pectoral fin rays;
black triangles on bases of all rayed fins with light coloured window
at base (except caudal fin).
Dorsum yellowish to copper/brown, covered
with large, irregularly shaped black spots. Maxillary and mandibular
barbels white. Iris copper coloured. Dorsal and pectoral fin spines
white terminating in short white filaments. All rayed fins with
black triangles at base; posterior margins white. Triangles have
large, lightly coloured windows at bases, most noticeable in ventral
and anal fins. Both lobes of caudal fin with black bar from base
to tip of fin; posterior margin of fin white.
Suitable for a Lake Tanganyika type setup
Females tend to get
a rounder belly especially in breeding condition.
Will take all aquarium prepared foods such
as flake, tablet, pellets and frozen worm foods. Will appreciate
a bit of green foods now and again
Syn = together; odontis = teeth.(fused
From the Latin, luci, meaning
bright or clear, and pinnis, meaning fin in reference
to the light patches found at the base of the black triangles
on the rayed fins, especially on the anal fin.
and LM Page (2006)
Taxonomic revision of Lake Taganyikan Synodontis (Siluriformes:
Mochokidae). Florida Mus. Nat. Hist. Bull. 46(4):99-154.
Google Maps - ©2013
: An opening just below the humeral process
Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind
the rayed dorsal fin.
Pertaining to the
upper jaw. (maxillary barbels)
Pertaining to the
lower jaw. (mandibular barbels)
The fin forward from the anal cavity.
The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
The paired fins just behind the head.
Steven Grant @