Petrocephalus microphthalmus is distinguished from all other Petrocephalus species in Central Africa by the following combination of characteristics. Short dorsal fin with only 18 or fewer branched rays (range 15–18). Longer anal fin with 23–27 branched rays. Eye small (4.0 ≤ Head length/eye diameter, range = 4.1–4.8). Mouth moderately wide (3.5 ≤ Head length /mouth width ≤ 4.9). Only 9–11 teeth in the upper jaw, 14–20 teeth in the lower jaw. Absence of black pigment patches, except for a characteristic black blotch on the anterior dorsal fin rays near the origin of this fin. Body silvery/purplish, iridescent.
Electroreceptors on the head are not clustered into "rosettes" but, instead, appear as isolated receptor pores. EOD of normal polarity with two main phases and, in Odzala, a third minute phase of very low amplitude.
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