Anton Lamboj


Revisional works on hemichromine cichlids (Pisces:Teleostei) – what has been done and what's in the pipeline.

Associate Researcher 

Unit for Integrative Zoology, Department of Evolutionary Biology
University of Vienna


Anton Lamboj1, Jörg Freyhof2 Stephan Koblmüller3
1Division Integrative Zoology, Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna, Djerassiplatz 1, 1030 Vienna, Austria
2Museum für Naturkunde, Leibnitz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, 10115 Berlin, Germany
3Institute of Biology, University of Graz, Universitäplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria

The tribe Hemichromini is an early diverging, mainly Central and West African lineage within the species rich African cichlid fishes (Cichliformes, Cichlidae). For a long time it included two genera, Hemichromis Peters 1858 and the currently monotypic Anomalochromis Greenwood 1985. Though many of the species are popular aquarium fish, the number of hemichromine species is still unclear and their phylogenetic relationships have been largely unknown, except for part of the large bodied five-spotted Hemichromis lineage (Bitja-Nyom et al. 2022).

Based on DNA sequence data of two mitochondrial and two nuclear genes, we present, as first part of our work, the first comprehensive phylogeny of the Hemichromini. Using an integrative approach based on these DNA sequences data, morphometrics, meristics and a qualitative assessment of body coloration, we revised the genus Hemichromis, describing the new genus Rubricatochromis Lamboj & Koblmüller 2022. Current research focuses on the intrageneric relationships and species definitions of Rubricatochromis. DNA sequence data, together with morphometrics and meristics suggest i) the need for synonymization of some species and ii) the presence cryptic diversity, with some new species to be described. In addition, preliminary data suggest that the genus Anomalochromis might not be monotypic after all.