Morphology Data of Oreochromis lepidurus
Identification keys
Main Ref. Trewavas, E., 1983
Appearance refers to Male; Female
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs genital papilla with tassels (m)
Different appearance different morphology in juveniles and adults
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features none
Body shape lateral short and / or deep
Cross section compressed
Dorsal head profile more or less straight
Type of eyes more or less normal
Type of mouth/snout more or less normal
Position of mouth terminal
Type of scales cycloid scales

Diagnosis: mature male with tuberculate genital papilla, some of the tubercles prolonged into filaments (Ref. 2). Caudal fin of adults densely scaled, usually with a reticulate melanin pattern (Ref. 2, 55074). 28 vertebrae; total dorsal rays 24-27; 19-24 lower gill-rakers; in adults snout long, preorbital bone deep and blade of lower pharyngeal 2-2.3 times the median length of the toothed area; outer teeth of jaws bicuspid unless by wearing down of minor cusp (Ref. 2).

Description: body shape ovoid (Ref. 52307). Head profile steep (Ref. 52307) but straight, sometimes slightly convex (Ref. 55074). Snout relatively long (Ref. 52307), broader than long, as long as or a little shorter than postocular part of head (Ref. 2989), with convex upper profile (Ref. 1870, 1879, 2989). Mouth rather small (Ref. 2989). Maxillary extending to between nostril and eye (Ref. 1870, 1879, 2989, 53262, 55074). Teeth with slender shafts, the outer spoon-shaped with a small minor cusp that may be worn down; inner teeth tricuspid with subequal cusps; tooth bands of 4 rows, widening to 5 at the sides of the lower jaw (Ref. 2). Scales on cheek in 2 or usually 3 rows (Ref. 2, 1870, 1879, 2989), width of scaly part less than diameter of eye (Ref. 2989). Eye equal to or a little less than preorbital depth (Ref. 2989). Lateral apophyses of lower pharyngeal bone extending behind the toothed area, which is heart-shaped, including a broad area of dark-brown-tipped very slender teeth; 5 scales between bases of pectoral and pelvic fins (Ref. 2). Opercular scales large (Ref. 1870, 1879, 53262). Gill-rakers short; scales cycloid (Ref. 1870, 2989, 53262). 17-21 scales in upper part of lateral line, 11-13 in lower part (Ref. 2989). Last dorsal fin spine longest; third anal fin spine nearly as long as last dorsal fin spine (Ref. 1870, 1879, 2989). Dorsal fin almost reaching base of caudal fin in juveniles anterior third of caudal fin in adults; anal fin reaching as far as dorsal fin (Ref. 55074). Pectoral fin as long as or a little longer than head (Ref. 1870, 1879, 2989, 53262), reaching vent (Ref. 55074). Pelvic fins never reaching anal fin but generally reaching a little further than pectoral fins (Ref. 55074). Caudal fin densely scaled (Ref. 2, 1870, 1879, 2989, 53262, 55074), with straight posterior border and hardly rounded corners (Ref. 55074). Caudal peduncle deeper than long (Ref. 1870, 1879, 2989, 53262). Bifid tassel of tubercles and filaments on the male genital papilla (Ref. 2).

Coloration: Preserved: buff with faint traces of about 8 vertical bars on dorsal half of body; vaguely outlined Tilapia-mark (Ref. 2). Caudal fin covered with a grey reticulum (Ref. 2, 1870, 2989). Light and dark maculae in unpaired fins (Ref. 52307). In life: upper part of head and back green-brown; flanks paler brownish yellow; 6-8 dark brownish vertical bands on upper flanks; scales on flanks with brownish red spot in the middle; chest and belly yellowish, turning reddish when sexually mature; dorsal fin pale green-brown with a pale horizontal band; soft dorsal with irregular pale stripes or spots; Tilapia-mark clearly present but vaguely outlined; anal fin olive-green to brown, with less spots than dorsal fin; caudal fin brown with irregular light stripes or spots; juveniles silvery (Ref. 55074).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Oreochromis lepidurus

Lateral Lines 2 Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 29 - 32
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line 3 - 4
Scale rows below lateral line 12 - 13
Scales around caudal peduncle
Barbels 0
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only) absent
Gill rakers
on lower limb 17 - 24
on upper limb
total 28


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes extending over most of the back length
Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   0
Ventral  0
Spines total 15 - 17
Soft-rays total 9 - 12
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes more or less truncate; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 3 - 3
Soft-rays total 8 - 9

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    thoracic  behind origin of D1
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Binohlan, Crispina B.
Modified by Musschoot, Tobias
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