Diagnosis: This species differs from Zaireichthys kafuensis, Z. kavangoensis, Z. monomotapa and Z. pallidus in the possession of a relatively broad premaxillary tooth patch with postero-lateral extensions, at least 45% of the mouth width; from Z. conspicuus in pigmentation, lacking the bold blotches; and from Z. maravensis in the longer adipose fin, 4.2±0.4 in standard length vs. 6.4±0.4, and greater number of vertebrae, 37-40 vs. 33-39 (Ref. 86935).
Description: Lateral line long, extending to or beyond the adipose fin (Ref. 86935). Snout bluntly rounded, not protruding much beyond the mouth; eyes moderate; mouth slightly less than half head width; barbels moderate (Ref. 86935). Dorsal fin II,5-6; adipose fin clearly separated from procurrent rays of caudal, relatively low; caudal fin slightly emarginate with the lower lobe slightly longer than the upper and with 11-14 branched rays, 5-7 in the upper lobe and 6-7 in the lower, usually with 6 in each lobe; anal fin with 9-13 rays, the first 4-6 simple; pectoral fins with 5-7, usually 6 branched rays, the spine bearing 5-8 slender barbs; pelvics almost reaching anal fin (Ref. 86935). Premaxillary tooth patch produced postero-laterally, premaxillary teeth caniniform, tooth patch bell-shaped; 6-9 branchiostegal rays (Ref. 86935). Vertebrae 37-40 plus the ural complex, the first haemal spine on the 14th-16th, usually the 15th; ribs 6-7 pairs, a number of individuals with the ribs of the seventh vertebra reduced and occasionally with one lost; parapophyses forked basally; humeral process relatively short and pointed, directed upwards, usually ending near or before level of supraoccipital process (Ref. 86935).
Colouration: Generally similar to most other species of the genus, pale with dark brown blotches; ground colour of preserved specimens yellowish, head marbled, a series of dark patches along the dorsal surface, the most prominent below the base of the dorsal; a series of about 11 small dark spots mid-laterally and a third series of about seven spots ventro-laterally from the base of the pelvic fins to the caudal peduncle; dorsal fin greyish, with a darker spot at the end of the spine; caudal with broad dark bar basally and a dark crescentic mark about mid length; pectoral fins often with greyish shading distally; barbels often greyish (Ref. 86935).