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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 sp. 'walteri'

Blue-faced Peacock

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

This fish has been known in the aquarium hobby for a number of years but remains undescribed to science despite the confusing trade name which has resulted in it often being referred to incorrectly as ‘Aulonocara walteri’.

It’s known only from Chizumulu Island and Likoma Island in Lake Malawi, both located off the eastern shoreline of the central part of the lake (Mozambique). There is a similar-looking, potentially conspecific, fish which can be found between the coastal settlements of Meponda (Mozambique) and Ntekete (Malawi) further south, and has been referred to A. sp. ‘trematocranus masinje’.

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Aulonocara hansbaenschi MEYER, RIEHL & ZETZSCHE, 1987

Red Shoulder Peacock

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

Some eminent authors believe this species to be a geographical variant of the highly variable congener A. stuartgranti rather than a distinct taxon but since most popular resources continue to view it as valid we also list it here.

At Masinje it has been observed to show a distinct preference for rocky caves and crevices in relatively shallow (3-6 metres deep) water. This is in contrast to most other members of the genus, which tend to forage over sand, but similar to behaviour seen in A. jacobfreibergi.

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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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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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Altolamprologus compressiceps (BOULENGER, 1898)

Compressiceps

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

This species varies in colour pattern depending on locality. Some of them are sold under several such names with the variant from Kigoma being known variously as A. compressiceps "Kigoma red", "Kigoma red fin", "Kigoma orange top" or "firefin" for example. The different populations should ideally be kept apart in aquaria and clearly labelled with collection locality in order to avoid hybridisation.

Forms popular in the aquarium hobby include:

– &quo…

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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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Altolamprologus calvus (POLL, 1978)

Calvus

March 13th, 2012 — 1:20pm

A. calvus is a predator by nature and its body shape has been adapted to allow it to enter small crevices and gaps in the rockwork of Lake Tanganyika to prey on eggs, fry and small fish. Its laterally compressed shape makes the fish hard to spot head on, giving it an advantage over would be predators and prey alike. It is also quite well-armoured, possessing thick scales which can be turned towards potential attackers. These can cause real damage with their serrated edges.

Several colour form…

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