Dorsal spines (total): 2-2; Dorsal soft rays (total): 5-5; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 11-12; Vertebrae: 36-37. Diagnosis: This species differs from Zaireichthys lacustris, Z. conspicuus, Z. kunenensis and Z. maravensis in having a narrow, sub-rectangular pre-maxillary tooth patch less than 40% of the mouth width; from Z. monomotapa in the more ‘peppered’ colour pattern, the presence of only five branched rays in the dorsal fin, and the shorter lateral line which is 1.4-1.8 times in the standard length; from Z. pallidus in the shorter maxillary barbels and in the possession of 13 branched rays in the caudal fin, vs. 11; and from Z. kavangoensis in the wider premaxillary tooth patch and larger number of rays in the median fins (Ref. 86935).
Description: It is similar in form to Zaireichthys rotundiceps, with which it was originally confused (Ref. 86935). Lateral line short, extending to origin of adipose fin; skin smooth (Ref. 86935). Head with supraoccipital process moderately broad, about 40% of inter-orbital width and bluntly pointed posteriorly; snout bluntly rounded, not projecting much beyond upper lip; eye moderate; fleshy tube of anterior nostril about as long as half diameter of eye; mouth slightly less than half head width; maxillary barbels reaching to bases of pectoral fins, outer mandibular reaching to branchiostegal membrane adjacent to pectoral-fin spine, inner reaching to isthmus (Ref. 86935). Dorsal fin II,5; adipose fin moderate for the genus, not closely approaching procurrent rays of caudal; caudal fin slightly emarginate, with rounded lobes, the lower slightly longer than the upper, with 5-6 branched rays in the upper lobe and 6-7 in the lower; anal fin with 11-12 rays, the first 5-6 simple; pectoral fins rounded, reaching end of dorsal base, not reaching pelvics; holotype with 6 branched rays in one pectoral fin and 7 in the other, paratypes with 6; pectoral-fin spine with 6-7 barbs; pelvics reaching close to anterior edge of adipose fin, not reaching anal (Ref. 86935). Premaxillae small, the premaxillary tooth patch with short postero-lateral projections (Ref. 86935). Vertebrae 36-37, excluding the ural complex; first haemal spine on the 14th or 15th; six pairs of ribs; humeral process long, pointed, ending nearer level of first dorsal spine than of supra-occipital process (Ref. 86935).
Colouration: Yellowish, head darker dorsally; area between the dorsal fin and the humeral process closely peppered with very small spots, this peppering continuing posteriorly on lateral and dorsal surfaces, but the spots becoming progressively larger and more widely spaced posteriorly; dark patches at base of dorsal and origin of adipose fins forming part of a series of about nine indistinct darker patches on dorsal surface; a series of 10-12 distinct darker patches mid-laterally; dorsal fin with indistinct dark bar at level of tip of spine; caudal with a dark crescentic bar basally and an indistinct bar towards the end of the fin (Ref. 86935).
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