Serranochromis robustus, Yellow-belly bream : fisheries, gamefish

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Serranochromis robustus (Günther, 1864)

Yellow-belly bream
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Serranochromis robustus
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Teleostei (teleosts) > Cichliformes (Cichlids, convict blennies) > Cichlidae (Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Serranochromis: Latin, serra = saw + Greek, chromis = a fish, perhaps a perch (Ref. 45335).
More on author: Günther.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Freshwater; demersal; depth range 2 - ? m. Tropical; 24°C - 26°C (Ref. 2059); 11°S - 21°S

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Africa: Lake Malawi, rivers flowing into it, and the outflowing Shire River and Lake Malombe (Ref. 39192, 52193, 55954, 79521, 97235, 128638). It was introduced from Lake Malawi into the upper Ruo River in Malawi (Ref. 7248), and Sand River Dam in Swaziland (Ref. 7248, 128638), where it established and spread into the Komati River system in South Africa (Ref. 128638); verbal reports from Mozambique indicate the species has recently spread onto the Mozambique coastal plain (Ref. 128638). Serranochromis species in the Luangwa River may be S. robustus based on photographs taken by anglers, but specimens ar nedded to confirm this (Ref. 128638).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 26.5, range 25 - 27.5 cm
Max length : 56.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); max. published weight: 6.1 kg (Ref. 7248)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 15 - 16; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-16; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 10 - 11. Diagnosis: The presence of four or five scale rows between the posterior margin of the orbit and the ascending arm of the preoperculum, the presence of widely set unicuspid teeth on the jaws, widely separated gill rakers, and anal fins with egg ocelli places this species in Serranochromis (Ref. 128638). Breeding males of S. robustus possess ocelli that are restricted to the posterior 4-5 membranes of the anal fin, which delimits them from all other Serranochromis species, which have ocelli throughout the anal fin in breeding males, with the exception of S. jallae (Ref. 128638). Serranochromis robustus generally has a longer lower jaw than S. jallae, 50.7-59.6% of head length vs. 49.2-52.7%; it is not as deep-bodied as S. jallae as evidenced by the distance between the posterior insertion of the dorsal fin and the posterior insertion of the anal fin, 13.4-15.1% of standard length in S. robustus vs. 14.9-18.4% in S. jallae; additionally, S. robustus has a narrower least caudal peduncle depth than S. jallae, 10.9-12.8% of standard length vs. 11.3-14.2%, the least caudal peduncle depth of all S. robustus was less than 12.8% of standard length while for S. jallae, except for the smallest specimen, the least caudal peduncle depth was greater than 13.2%; Serranochromis robustus has a smaller horizontal eye diameter than S. jallae, 17.7-27.4% of head length vs. 18.6-25.5%; in general, S. robustus has more teeth in the outer row of the left lower jaw than S. jallae, 14-23 vs. 13-14 (Ref. 128638). Adults in breeding colour of Serranochromis robustus are blue/green laterally with a narrow yellow marginal band on the dorsal fin and usually a small yellowish tip to the upper caudal-fin lobe; adults in breeding colour of S. jallae are yellow/green laterally with a bright orange marginal band on the dorsal and caudal fins in fish from the Okavango River system, but creamy yellow bands in fish from the upper Zambezi River system; the throat and belly of S. jallae becomes more intensely yellow-orange in breeding dress hence the local name 'yellow-belly'; rarely, specimens from the Okavango River in Namibia also have yellow rather than orange marginal bands (Ref. 128638).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

It occupies mostly complex habitats in water shallower than 10 m; mostly found near river outlets and in the southern part of Lake Malawi; in southern Lake Malawi it is generally associated with the rock/sand interface or, associated with submerged aquatic vegetation and among reed beds in shallow water and inlets (Ref. 5595, 128638). Present in calm coves or slow flowing sections of rivers with vegetation; not common in Lake Malawi, but abundant in larger rivers (Ref. 4967). Piscivore, hunting mbuna and sand-dwelling haplochromines; mouthbrooder (Ref. 5595). Oviparous (Ref. 205). Breeds in summer (Ref. 7248).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Oviparous (Ref. 205). Females incubate the eggs in the mouth (Ref. 50828).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Kullander, Sven O. | Collaborators

Snoeks, J. and M. Hanssens, 2004. Identification guidelines to other non-mbuna. p.266-310. In Snoeks, J. (ed.) The cichlid diversity of Lake Malawi/Nyasa/Niassa: identification, distribution and taxonomy. Cichlid Press, El Paso, USA, 360p. (Ref. 55954)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 130435)

  Critically Endangered (CR) (A2c+3cde); Date assessed: 20 June 2018


Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO - Aquaculture: production; ; Publication: search | FishSource |

More information

Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

AFORO (otoliths) | Alien/Invasive Species database | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes: genus, species | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | FAO - Aquaculture: production; ; Publication: search | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank: genome, nucleotide | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Socotra Atlas | Tree of Life | Wikipedia: Go, Search | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804):  PD50 = 0.5005   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01349 (0.00754 - 0.02415), b=3.00 (2.85 - 3.15), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  4.1   ±0.67 se; based on food items.
Generation time: 2.2 ( na - na) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 2 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.51; tm=3).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low vulnerability (25 of 100).
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.