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Phalloceros caudimaculatus (HENSEL, 1868)

Dusky Millions Fish

May 30th, 2014 — 10:22pm

Occurs naturally in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina with feral populations in Australia, New Zealand, Ethiopia and Malawi which were purportedly introduced for purposes of mosquito control but are now considered invasive.

Following Lucinda (2008) its natural range comprises the Lagoa dos Patos system, lower rio Uruguai, rio Tramanda√≠, and rio Mampituba in Rio Grande do Sul st…

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Aulonocara sp. 'stuartgranti maleri'

Sunshine Peacock

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

It remains unclear whether this fish represents an as yet undescribed species or not but in either case the unofficial, vernacular name is confusing due to it being based on that of a described taxon. As a result it is often referred to as A. stuartgranti ‘Maleri’ or ‘Maleri Islands’, either through error or because some authors believe it to be conspecific with A. stuartgranti.

The population from the Maleri Islands is traded as ‘yellow regal peacock’ (not to be confused with the ‘new yellow regal peacock’, i.e., A. baenschi) and the one from Chidunga Rocks as ‘sunshine peacock’ or ‘orange peacock’.

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Aulonocara stuartgranti MEYER & RIEHL, 1985

Grant's Peacock

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

Males of this species occur in a wide range of colour forms depending on locality, with blue variants being found predominantly (but not exclusively) towards the north of the lake and yellow in the south. This variation, alongside its relatively extensive distribution, has resulted in some taxonomical issues, several of which have not yet been resolved.

For example, two forms from the southwest of the lake are referred to as A. sp. “stuartgranti maleri” and A. sp. “stuartgranti mbenji”, respectively, and may turn out to be distinct species given their colour patterns an…

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Aulonocara maylandi TREWAVAS, 1984

Sulphurhead Peacock

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

This species exists in two distinctive phenotypes, with male individuals from West reef and Eccles reef possessing a bright yellow stripe of colour running from the tip of the snout over the anterior portion of the dorsal surface and along the distal margin of the dorsal fin. This form is commonly referred to as ‘sulphurhead’ or ‘sulfurhead’ in the aquarium hobby.

At Kande Island males exhibit a similar overall colour patterm but the dorsal stripe is whitish in colour and both males and females possess an enlarged lower pharyngeal bone. This population was described…

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Aulonocara jacobfreibergi (JOHNSON, 1974)

Malawi Butterfly

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

This was one of the first Aulonocara spp. to enter the hobby and its popularity has endured. It’s known by several other vernacular names including ‘Freiberg’s peacock’, ‘fairy cichlid’ and ‘African butterfly’ as well as the erroneous ‘scientific’ names Trematocranus trevori, T. jacobfreigbergi and T. regina. A naturally-occurring, yellowish form from Undu reef, Tanzania is often referred to as ‘lemon jake’.

It can be told apart from most other members of the genus by the broad, pale distal margins in the dorsal, anal and caudal fins, more deeply-forked caudal fin and larger adult size.

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Aulonocara ethelwynnae MEYER, RIEHL & ZETZSCHE, 1987

Northern Aulonocara

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

Endemic to Lake Malawi where it was described from and only occurs around ‘Chitendi Island’, now normally referred to as Chitande island plus a short stretch of coastline between Ngara and Chilumba along the lake’s northwestern shoreline.

Aulonocara spp. are benthophagous by nature employing a method of feeding whereby mouthfuls of substrate are taken and sifted for edible items with the remaining material expelled via the gills and mouth. They’re equally-skilled at hunting as grazing, tending to hover above the substrate until tiny movements are detected, and possess enlarged sensory pores on the head which assist in this technique.

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Aristochromis christyi TREWAVAS, 1935

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

This is currently the only described member ofthe genus and despite having a wide distribution, it's not particularly common in Lake Malawi. Correspondingly it's not seen all that often in the hobby either. It's beak-like mouthparts are specially adapted to allow it to hunt smaller fish among crevices between rocks. It can also extend the mouth in all four directions at once, allowing it to swallow prey up to around 4" long!

As well as hunting amongst rocks, Aristoch…

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Aulonocara baenschi MEYER & RIEHL, 1985

New Yellow Regal Peacock

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

This species may also be sold variously as ‘yellow regal cichlid’, ‘Baensch’s peacock’, ‘sunshine peacock’ and ‘Nkhomo-Benga peacock’. The easiest way to distinguish it from similar-looking congeners is to look at the profile of the snout, which is steeper and more curved than that of its congeners.

Aulonocara spp. are benthophagous by nature employing a method of feeding whereby mouthfuls of substrate are taken and sifted for edible items with the remaining material expelled via the gills and mouth. They’re equally-skilled at hunting as grazing, tending to hover above the substrate until tiny movements are detected, and possess enlarged sensory pores on the head which assist in this technique.

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