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The real kribensis.


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Dec 6, 2019
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I ran into this and it was very informational on what the different types are, and I thought others might enjoy.
Willy Bijker
Conversation Starter · December 3 at 6:26 PM
As it seems, there is to much confusion about the genus Pelvicachromis,
commingly known as "kribs"in the English-spoken world.
As it irritated me, i asked my friend Dr.Anton Lamboj to help me in this,
and together we made up this "document", so i hope this will clear up things for now.
If there are any questions or additions, we are pleased to hear them, and i will try to answer them in PM as good as possible.
Regards, Willy and Anton.
I found it about time to make some things clear about the genus Pelvicachromis, as there seems to be much confusion.
This is not ment for the people who are deeper into West-African cichlids, they know most of these facts already.
This is for the people who see all of these pictures passing by of the most beautifull Pelvicachromis-species,
and have no clue anymore about what is what exactly...
A lot of clarity came when my friend Dr.Anton Lamboj re-described and named or renamed several species in this genus in several scientific papers,
(A,Lamboj, D.Bartel, E.Dell'Ampio 2013)
but the message does always take time to sink in as usual.
One reason is, that most fish of this genus are named commonly either "krib"or "kribensis in the English spoken world.
This name is mainly given to Pelvicachromis pulcher, as this is the most common species in the trade and hobby,
but also for other species in this genus, which makes it even more confusing.
I would even dare to say that most fish of this species(P.pulcher) in the trade are an aquariumstrain, even an aquariumspecies,
as in the past animals from different locations were imported, and the local forms and color-morphs got mixed up through the years in the hobby,
basicly because most people were not aware of the different locations and colormorphs, or even interested.
This is why you can have different forms/colormorphs of "common kribs" in your fishtank,
even though they are no wildforms, from which we know that they have differences in colouration.
I can remember a highly build light-green and quite highly build colormorph from the 1970's, with hardly any red in them.
The males had big spade-formed caudal fins, with hardly ever ocelli(eyespots) in them.
these days you don't see these animals anymore.
The animals that you see most are the ones with a red belly in both sexes, as usual most in the females,
and the form in which the males have red gill-covers also.
The first form resembles the form from Ndonga in Cameroon the most.
The other strain, where the males have also red gillcovers, and can be almost completely red on their belly,
are most likely descendants from fish that came originally from the Cross River-System in the south of Nigeria.
Maybe even an occasional other species of this genus got mixed in also in the early trade,
as very often bags with mixed Pelvicachromis-species were imported.
Now the species-name P.kribensis was most likely given in the past(Boulenger 1911) to what is also today P.kribensis again,
as the only form of P.pulcher in Cameroon is found in the area of Ndonga, which is much more up north in Cameroon,
so much nearer to Nigeria where also the other forms of P.pulcher live,
as the town Kribi, most likely the name-giver of the species P.kribensis, is more south on the Atlantic coast.
So WHEN a species in this genus should be named "krib" anyway, it is the species kribensis of course.
But to be honest, i hope the common name/tradename disapears, as it only gives confusion.
I decided to consult my friend Dr.Anton Lamboj, well know in the aquariumworld as THE biggest expert and author on West-African cichlids,
This to get complete clarity in these matters, and comfirmed which fish is which, and from what location.
And we are talking about P.kribensis now, as there are quite a few local forms, so not subspecies, and they all live in Cameroon!
As aquarists are traveling to these countries a lot more than in the past, to catch these fish themselves, they also bring fish back of course.
Often are these animals caught near an already know location, but further upstream, or in a tributary of the original river,
or in a river in the same system.
These are brought back then added with a new location-name, although they are the same forms which were already known before.
they maybe can have slight variations, but we know that that is very common in evolution, even a bit isolation can lead to differentiation of any kind,
depending on how long animals of the same species get isolated from eachother.
So besides the original location, a town near this new caught-location can be named, or the region where they were caught,
another river in the same river-sytem, or aa tributary.
That delivers a whole bunch of names for a species which we could categorise in just one species or morph.
Now i believe that real serious hobbyists don't do this on purpose, maybe they hope or think that it might be a new form or variation...
Either way, i hope to shed a bit light on this matter now, as this genus lies closes to my heart, and my old love from the beginning long ago.
Untill now, we know 8 species of Pelvicachromis, knowing;
kribensis(former P.taeniatus froms from Cameroon)
drachenfelsi(former P.taeniatus form from the Wouri River in Cameroon)
sacrimontis(former P.aff.pulcher or P.pulcher form B)
silviae(former P.aff.subocellatus )
in the species of kribensis is much variation, mainly because their habitats are not always close to eachother,
or not even connected, so isolation, which can create differenciation.
They all come from Cameroon.
There are a few major forms/colourmorphs;
Muyuka(appearently extinct in the area, and brought back from several locations in Cameroon), also referred as Kumba and Njanje, not all the same fish,
high variation actually, as it is not known yet which populations from different parts of Cameroon had been released in the Muyuka-/Kumba-area,
and at which places there.
Dehane, same as Edea.
Lokoundje, might be a form in between, not sure.
Bipindi, maybe the same as Bandewouri.
Kienke, same as Nange and maybe Makoure.
Lobe, same as Nyete and Oto Akok.
Even forms from tributaries can look quite different, but at the end from the same form.
That means forms with different names(for either catch-location or tributary) are belonging to the same form,
just with a little bit natural differentiation.
By Dr.Anton Lamboj et al. the genus was re-described(2013), and the former P.taeniatus from Cameroon were re-named to P.kribensis,
as this name was the oldest valid name there for the forms there(1911), and because the forms are different from the forms in Nigeria and Benin.
Besides that, the form of the Wouri river was so much different from both, that it deserved it's own name P.drachenfelsi.
P.drachenfelsi as explained, has genetic and morphologic differences.
P.taeniatus, untill now known from Benin and Nigeria, sjows the forms yellow and green, the red form in the trade seems to be a farmbred form,
so an aquariumstrain.
More clarity has to come there by scientific research.
P.pulcher, mainly known in several forms and colourations from Nigeria, 1 form known from Cameroon, from Ndonga.
P.sacrimontis, formerly known under several names as P.aff.pulcher or P.pulcher B is a real valid species,
with 3 colourmorphs,
knowing yellow, green and red, all from southern Nigeria.
P.subocellatus, known in 3 official forms/colormorphs...
Matadi, Mouloundo and Moanda, the Daphne form seems to be the same as Matadi.
you can never mis-indentify a female P.subocellatus!
Distribution is Gabon and the Republic of the Congo.
P.silviae, formely know as P.sp.aff.subocellatus.
Very look-a-like, but even more sturdier and lighter colours(in females), and more highly build.
Named after Anton's wife Silvia!
P.roloffi, the oddball in the genus, as they live far away from the other members in the genus.
But after DNA research, still geniaticlly related to the rest of the genus, although there is a major distance between this species,
and the other members of the genus.
Maybe there was a serious landbridge between those area's in the far past.
Enigmatochromis lacunusi lives in their region to, but seems already geneticaly diverse from them, it was formerly named Pelvicachromis sp. Blue Neon.
See the name Enigmatochromis(enigma=riddle).
Only in Guinee.
I hope this information cleared up about the name "krib-kribs-kribensis", and about the local forms of the real Pelvicachromis kribensis,
and the rest of the genus.
Last edited:


Jan 26, 2008
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Perth, WA
I don't mean to be rude, but is there any chance you can edit that to make it more legible?

Put in paragraphs and spaces between paragraphs rather than just 1 long sentence with singles words on separate lines :)


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