This section will be dealing with the cichlids from the Lake Tanganyikan tribe Ectodini, one of twelwe tribes of cichlids found in the Lake, as defined by Max Poll (1986). The species in the tribe Ectodini are morphologically and behaviourially very diverse and encompass both sand-, rock- and mud-dwelling cichlids, perfectly adapted to their preferred natural habitat and mode of feeding. The tribe Ectodini consist of the following genera: Asprotilapia, Aulonocranus, Callochromis, Cardiopharynx, Cunningtonia, Cyathopharynx, Ectodus, Enantiopus, Grammatotria, Lestradea, Microdontochromis, Ophthalmotilapia and Xenotilapia.
In recent years new work, consisting of both morphological and molecular investigations on the tribe Ectodini has been published, and although the tribe is a well defined phylogenetic entity and clearly demarcated against the other cichlid tribes of Lake Tanganyika (Greenwood 1983; Poll 1986; Sturmbauer & Meyer 1993), the phylogenetic relationships among the genera and species in the tribe itself is much more complicated, and it's possible that several genera may be in need of a taxonomic revision (Takahashi 2003; Koblmüller et al. 2004). On top of that, much is still to be known about the reproduction, behavior and feeding strategy of several of the species from the tribe, both in the Lake and the aquarium.
The section consists of two parts; one part consisting of short synopsis’s that outlines the taxonomic status of the involved genera and species, as well as their phylogenetic relationship, followed by a presentation of potentially undescribed species. Likewise uncertainties in the behavior of the tribe’s species that needs further investigation are outlined. It's my sincere hope that as many as possible will participate in the discussions regarding the generic assignment and taxonomy of the involved species and that many will share their observations on them, both in the Lake itself and in the aquarium, so we together can develop a better understanding of this beautiful assemblage of cichlids!
The second part consists of articles that describe each species and their natural habitat, reproduction and guidelines for their proper maintenance in the aquarium. I hope you find the articles useful when setting up a tank at home - if you have any questions, then please do not hesitate: ask on the Cichlid Room Companion forum, and I'll try to answer the best I can.