The cichlid known for a long time as Ectodus descampsii is now considered to be an undescribed species, Ectodus sp. 'north' - a male in the aquarium is here shown. Photo by Julien Ruiz.
As outlined in the Synopsis of Ectodus Boulenger, 1898, new investigations by Sébastien Verne has revealed that the holotype of Ectodus descampsii corresponds with the southern form, previously believed to be a potentially undescribed species E. sp. 'descampsii ndole' (Verne 2001).
That leaves the northern form as an undescribed species and Verne has proposed the working name Ectodus sp. 'north' until the formal description has been done (Verne 2001) – a description that is currently taken place by Verne and Dr. Jos Snoeks (Jos Snoeks, pers. com).
Ectodus descampsii is found between Moliro at the border between DR Congo and Zambia, and Utinta Bay just north of Cape Mpimbwe in Tanzania (Verne 2001).
Ectodus descampsii male immediately after capture at Kalambo, Lake Tanganyika. Photo by Eric Genevelle
Ectodus descampsii differ from E. sp. 'north' by growing bigger with a noticeably deeper body, 3.5 times as long as high vs. 4-5 in the latter. The spines in the dorsal are longer than the soft rays giving the dorsal a flag-like appearance (Konings, 1998). The black spot in the dorsal fin is present in both species, but tend to be placed more to the middle of the dorsal in E. descampsii, whereas it is placed more to the front in E. sp. 'north'. Another distinctive character is the yellowish color in the unpaired fins, as well as in the ventral fins, of sexually mature males.