Giant cichlid

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Giant cichlid
DKoehl Boulengerochromis microlepis.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cichliformes
Family: Cichlidae
Subfamily: Pseudocrenilabrinae
Tribe: Boulengerochromini
Takahashi, 2003
Genus: Boulengerochromis
Pellegrin, 1904
B. microlepis
Binomial name
Boulengerochromis microlepis
(Boulenger, 1899)

The giant cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis), also known as the emperor cichlid, is a species of fish in the Cichlidae family, endemic to Lake Tanganyika in Africa.[2][3] It is the only member of its genus Boulengerochromis and tribe Boulengerochromini.[4]

The species was originally described as Tilapia microlepis by George Albert Boulenger in 1899. Realizing that it was not a tilapia, the genus Boulengerochromis was coined in 1904 by Jacques Pellegrin, honouring G.A. Boulenger.

Males reach a length up to 90 cm (3.0 ft) and females up to 75 cm (2.5 ft), possibly making it the largest species of cichlid,[5] although other suggest that prize goes to the speckled peacock bass (Cichla temensis) of South America.[6]

The giant cichlid is endemic to Lake Tanganyika where it occurs in the countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia.[1] It is common and found in coastal areas to depths of 100 m (330 ft).[1] Adults are mainly piscivorous and juveniles are omnivores.[3]

The generic name of this species is a compound noun, made up of the surname Boulenger, in honour of the Belgian born herpetologist and ichthyologist George Albert Boulenger (1858-1937), ad the Greek word chromis which was used by Aristotle for a type of fish. This was probably the drum Sciaenidae and may be derived from the word chroemo which means "to neigh" in reference to the noise made by drums. This word was applied to a number of percomorph fishes, such as damselfish, cardinalfish, dottybacks, wrasses and cichilds, by ichthyologists as these were thought to be closely related.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Bigirimana, C. 2005. Boulengerochromis microlepis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 4 August 2007.
  2. ^ Boulengerochromis microlepis FishBase (2006) Eds. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. version (07/2014).
  3. ^ a b SeriouslyFish: Boulengerochromis microlepis. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  4. ^ Meyer, Matchiner, Salburger, Britta, Michael, Walter (2015). "A tribal level phylogeny of Lake Tanganyika cichlid fishes based on a genomic multi-marker approach". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 83: 56–71. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.10.009.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Bailey, M. (13 June 2016). The 10 biggest cichlids. Practical Fishkeeping. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  6. ^ Reis, P. (2015), Aspects of life history of Cichla temensis (Perciformes: Cichlidae) and its relationship to the Amazon basin's flood pulse, Rutgers University
  7. ^ Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (22 July 2018). "Order CICHLIFORMES: Family CICHLIDAE: Subfamily PSEUDOCRENILABRINAE (a-g)". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 22 January 2019.