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Epiplatys lamottei DAGET, 1954

Red-spotted Panchax

SynonymsTop ↑

Epiplatys fasciolatus lamottei Daget, 1954


Epiplatys: from the Greek epi, meaning ‘above, on top of’, and platys, meaning ‘flat, broad’, in reference to the flat dorsal surface of the anterior half of the body in members of this genus.

lamottei: named for M. Lamott who first collected the species.


Order: Cyprinodontiformes Family: Nothobranchiidae


This species has a relatively restricted distribution in  southeastern Guinea and northern Liberia where it’s known from the upper Niger, upper Lofa, Saint Paul and Saint John river drainages.

Type locality is ‘Simandou, about 9°00’N, 9°00’W, southeastern Guinea’.

When a population is known aquarists also tend to label the fish as such in order to avoid hybridisation and preserve bloodlines, e.g., N’zérékoré, Salayea, Zorzor,  Koulé GRC90/178, etc.


Inhabits small streams and minor tributaries, and is threatened by deforestation and mining activities across some of its range.

The type series was collected from hill streams located between the Milo and Sankarani, both of which are affluents within the upper Niger system.

Sympatric fish species include the congeners E. hildegardae and E. maeseni plus Nimbapanchax viridis.

Maximum Standard Length

50 – 60 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

Minimum base dimensions of 80 ∗ 30 cm or equivalent are recommended although smaller aquaria can be used for breeding purposes.


Perhaps looks best in a heavily-planted set-up or natural-style arrangement comprising a sandy substrate plus some driftwood roots and branches.

The addition of dried leaf litter would further emphasise the natural feel and as well as offering additional cover for the fish brings with it the growth of microbe colonies as decomposition occurs.

These can provide a valuable secondary food source for fry and the humic substances released by the decaying leaves are also considered beneficial, with alder cones also useful in this respect.

There’s no need to use natural peat, the collection of which is both unsustainable and environmentally-destructive.

This species seems to do best under fairly dim lighting but you can add aquatic plant species that can survive under such conditions such as MicrosorumTaxiphyllum or Anubias spp., while floating vegetation, such as Ceratopteris spp., is also appreciated.

Water Conditions

Temperature18 – 23 °C

pH5.0 – 7.0

Hardness18 – 179 ppm


Probably a predator feeding on terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and other zooplankton in nature.

In the aquarium it will accept dried foods of a suitable size but should also be offered daily meals of small live and frozen fare such as Artemia nauplii, Daphnia, Moina, grindal worm, etc.

Small insects such as crickets or Drosophila fruit flies are also suitable to use although it’s best to fill the stomachs of these by feeding them fish flakes or some kind of vegetable matter before offering them to the fish.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males are more colourful, possess more-extended fins and grow larger than females.

NotesTop ↑

Following the key of Romand (1992) this species can be told apart from congeners by the following combination of characters: adult size > 40 mm SL; large, dark, transverse bars and some reddish-brown pigmentation on flanks; longitudinal bands more-or-less defined; longitudinal bands composed of small red spots; caudal-fin subquadrangular caudal fin; 11-13 anal-fin rays; 16-17 dorsal-fin rays; 7-8 anal-fin rays located anterior to dorsal-fin origin.

Epiplatys is the most widely-distributed genus of West African aplocheiloid killifish with a range overlapping that of the other genera native to the region which are more restricted and split into eastern and western groups based on their respective patterns of distribution.

For example, Callopanchax is restricted to coastal lowlands of far Western Africa with Scriptaphyosemion and Archiaphyosemion known only from the interior of the Western rainforest, whereas Aphyosemion and Fundulopanchax present more easterly ranges extending south and eastward from Nigeria.

Although previously considered closely-related to the genus Aplocheilus due to shared similarities such as possessing an upturned mouth and dwelling mostly near the water surface Epiplatys is in fact affiliated with the western group above, i.e., its closest relatives are Callopanchax, Scriptaphyosemion and Archiaphyosemion.

In addition the phylogenetic analysis of Collier et al. (2009) revealed the existence of two distinct clades within Epiplatys itself, one comprising those species restricted to the Western rainforest (the western/savanna clade) and other those inhabiting lowland (coastal) swamps and streams west of the Dahomey Gap.

Most members of the coastal clade have a colour pattern consisting of broad, dark vertical bars which are present in juveniles of those species which lack them as adults, plus many populations possess an asymmetric caudal-fin shape with an extended lower lobe, whereas western clade species tend to lack or only possess thin oblique dark bars on the body and have symmetrically-shaped caudal fins.


  1. Collier, G. E., W. J. Murphy and M. Espinoza, 2009 - Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50(1): 190-196
    Phylogeography of the genus Epiplatys (Aplocheiloidea: Cyprinodontiformes).
  2. Hertwig, S. T., 2008 - Zoologica Scripta 37(2): 141-174
    Phylogeny of the Cyprinodontiformes (Teleostei, Atherinomorpha): the contribution of cranial soft tissue characters.
  3. Romand, R. Cyprinodontidae. In: Lévêque, C., D. Paugy and G. G. Teugels (eds) , 1992 - Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgique and O.R.S.T.O.M., Paris, France: 389-902
    Faune des poissons d'eaux douces et saumâtres de l'Afrique de l'Ouest Tome 2. Collection Fauna Tropicale no. XXVIII.
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