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
are very much alike and a tank with either species
presents a challenge to try to identify them to one
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
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
(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).
Tangyanika and the Type locality shown in
the Zambian end of the Lake near the Zambian
port of Mpulungu.
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.
Lake Tanganyika, Musende
Rocks near the Zambian port of Mpulungu.
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.
Care & Compatibility
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. 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
finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal
fin: The fin forward
from the anal cavity.
Axillary pore: An opening just
below the humeral process.
The primary rayed fin(s) on top of the body.
Mandibular barbels:Pertaining to
the lower jaw (mandibular barbels). Maxillary
the upper jaw (maxillary barbels). Pectoral
fin: The paired
fins just behind the head.
Syn = together; odontis = teeth
(fused tooth plates). lucipinnis:
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