Parananochromis Greenwood

Anton Lamboj & Melanie L. J. Stiassny, 2003, Three new Parananochromis species (Teleostei, Cichlidae) from Gabon and Cameroon, Central Africa., Zootaxa 209, pp. 1-19 : 1-2

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Parananochromis Greenwood


[[ Parananochromis Greenwood   ZBK ]]

The cichlid genus Parananochromis   ZBK was erected by Greenwood (1987) to accommodate three species formerly placed in Pelmatochromis and Nanochromis   ZBK . These species were P. longirostris (Boulenger, 1903) designated as the type of Parananochromis   ZBK , P. caudifasciatus (Boulenger, 1913) , and P. gabonicus (Trewavas, 1975) . Although the precise relationships of this taxon remain problematical our current understanding is that Parananochromis   ZBK belongs to the chromidotilapiine lineage. This assemblage currently comprises seven genera united by the possession of several derived anatomical features, including the presence of a visor-like pad on the roof of the buccopharynx just anterior to the upper pharyngeal bones, tuberculate gill-rakers on the outer row of the first gill arch, and the absence of microbranchiospines on the second to fourth gill arches (Greenwood 1987; Stiassny 1991). Parananochromis   ZBK are readily distinguished from the chromidotilapiine genera Thysochromis   ZBK , Chromidotilapia   ZBK , Pelvicachromis , and Benitochromis   ZBK by the possession of 12 circumpeduncular scales (versus 15-16), from Divandu   ZBK by the presence of 4 openings of the laterosensory system in the first infraorbital bone (versus 5 in Divandu   ZBK ), and from Nanochromis   ZBK (the only other chromidotilapiine genus with a Haplochromis-type rather than a Tilapia-type of neurocranial apophysis) by the configuration of the infraorbital series and lateral line.

Shortly after Greenwood´s (1987) paper was published two Parananochromis   ZBK species, unassignable to any described species, were collected from localities in the Ivindo River, a large black water tributary of the Ogowe River, Gabon. One was collected in the vicinity of Belinga (Numrich & Wunderlich, 1988), and the second from Makokou (Lamboj, 1988). Aquarists raised both species and information on behaviour and reproductive biology has since appeared in the aquarium hobbyist literature (e.g., Lamboj 1999a, Linke & Staeck 2002) under the names Parananochromis sp. “Belinga” and Parananochromis sp. “Makokou” . Between 1995 and 2002, as part of an ongoing effort to document the ichthyofauna of the Lower Guinean ichthyofaunal province (Cameroon, Rio Muni, Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville), numerous additional collections were made throughout the region, and examination of these as well as historical collections have led to a better understanding of the distribution of these two undescribed species. Additionally, recent collections in the region of Makokou, and historical material from a nearby locality, have revealed the presence there of a third undescribed Parananochromis   ZBK species.

In the past five years numerous new cichlid taxa have been described from the Lower Guinean icthyofaunal province (see e.g., Lamboj 1999b, 2001, 2002, 2003; Lamboj & Snoeks, 2000; Schliewen & Stiassny, 2003), and many more remain to be described. Among these are the three Parananochromis   ZBK species mentioned above, which we herein describe.