Identification system for Tanganyikan Cichlids (ISTC)

Version 3.5b

ISTC is a program for facilitating the identification of Tanganyikan Cichlids. In Lake Tanganyika, 196 valid species of Cichlidae (Perciformes) have been described this far (February 2007). Since most species are endemic to the lake, a majority of the ichthyofauna probably originated due to intralacustrine speciation. Therefore these species have attracted the attention of many researchers working on evolutionary and ecological studies.

The taxonomic identification of these species remains difficult because of a presence of many species similar in appearance with overlapping morphological characters and intraspecific variations in body color. This program will facilitate the identification of the Tanganyikan cichlids. The program narrows the possible species down based on a similar method to the quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA). Although the present method is not mathematically rigorous, its practicability was confirmed (Takahashi et al., submitted). 

The ISTC version 3.5b contains data of 186 species, which contribute to 95% of all the valid species (details in Supplementary table).


Tetsumi Takahashi (corresponding author), Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, 
Kyoto University, Japan, E-mail:
Taisuke Ohtsuka, Lake Biwa Museum, Japan
Keiichi Matsuura, Department of Zoology, National Science Museum, Japan

How to use

  • Citation of ISTC: Takahashi et al. (Submitted).
  • Required computer system:
    The ISTC is built using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) within MS Excel. A windows version “ISTC(Win)” is compatible with Excel 2002, and a macintosh version “ISTC(MacOSX)” is compatible with Excel 2004 and Excel X.