Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found in rocky habitats. Feeds from the biocover by nibbling and picking on the algae (Ref. 5595). Aquarium keeping: aggressive towards conspecifics; many females for one male; minimum aquarium size 100 cm (Ref. 51539).
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Native to Lake Malawi, Africa. Reported from Rogers Spring in Nevada, but not known to be established there (Fuller et al. 1999).

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Range Description

Endemic to Lake Malawi. Mainly occurs in the southern part of the lake from Jalo reef along the entire western coast down to Crocodile rocks, including all Islands and reefs.
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Africa: Endemic to Lake Malawi. Occurs in the southern part of the lake from Jalo Reef, north of Nkhota Kota southward along the entire western coast down to Crocodile Rocks including all islands and reefs. Not known on the eastern shore (Ref. 5595).
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Eastern Africa: Lake Malawi.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 110 mm TL
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Max. size

11.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5663))
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Freshwater

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Occurs mainly in rocky habitat. It is most numerous among medium sized rocks but can also occur in intermediate habitat. Recorded from the surface to a depth of at least 40 m (more numerous in the upper 10 m). Males are weakly territorial and seldom stay to defend a particular site for more than a few hours. Spawning occurs inside a cave or alongside a rock. Females and non-territorial males occur singly or in small groups of about 8–10 individuals. Feeds on aufwuchs as well as plankton. Known by its scientific name in the aquarium trade. Max. size: Attains a maximum length of 10 cm for males and 9 cm for females.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

demersal; freshwater; pH range: 7.0 - 8.5; dH range: 10 - 15
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Associations

Known prey organisms

Pseudotropheus auratus (Pseudotropheus elongatus, P. tropheops, P. minutus, P. auratus, P. fuscus, Labeotropheus fuelleborni, L. trewavasae) preys on:
Aufwuchs

Based on studies in:
Malawi, Lake Nyasa (Lake or pond)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • G. Fryer, The trophic interrelationships and ecology of some littoral communities of Lake Nyasa, Proc. London Zool. Soc. 132:153-281, from p. 217 (1959).
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Diseases and Parasites

White spot Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Trypanosoma Infection. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Pseudomonas infection. Bacterial diseases
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Hole-in-the-Head Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Fin-rot Disease (late stage). Bacterial diseases
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Fin Rot (early stage). Bacterial diseases
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Cryptobia Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Bacterial Infections (general). Bacterial diseases
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Lays up to 40 eggs. Female takes brood into her mouth and takes care of the young.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2006

Assessor/s
Kasembe, J.

Reviewer/s
Snoeks, J. (Freshwater Fish Red List Authority) & Darwall, W. (Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment Programme)

Contributor/s

Justification
Endemic to Lake Malawi where it is widespread throughout the southern part of the lake. It has no known major, widespread threats.
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Population

Population
No information available.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Collection for the aquarium trade. Subsistence fishing.
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

aquarium: highly commercial
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Wikipedia

Melanochromis auratus

The auratus cichlid, Melanochromis auratus, is a freshwater fish of the cichlid family. It is also known as golden mbuna and Malawi golden cichlid. It is endemic to the southern region of Lake Malawi, particularly from Jalo Reef southward along the entire western coast down to Crocodile Rocks. This cichlid is found in rocky habitats and prefers a pH range of 7.0–8.5 and a temperature range of 22–26°C.

Auratus cichlids are small, elongate fish that can grow up to 11 cm. Juveniles and females are bright yellow with black and white stripes on the upper half of the body. Adult male coloration is drastically different with dark brown or black body and light blue or yellow stripes on the upper half of the body.

Like many other cichlids from Lake Malawi, auratus cichlids are mouthbrooders. Females hold their fertilized eggs and fry in their mouth for a few weeks before releasing the fry.[2]

Aquarium care

The auratus cichlid is one of the most popular mbuna cichlids in the aquarium trade. Juveniles of this fish have a striking coloration and are commonly available in most pet shops. However, auratus cichlids, especially the males, are territorial and highly aggressive, even on the mbuna cichlid standard. In most cases, it is best to keep one adult male with many females. In aquarium stores, there will usually be one dominant male that is colored black, the rest will display the submissive "female" coloration of yellow. If this male is sold, the next dominant male will take on the black color. Their tank should be set up with a lot of rocks with caves and hiding places. Auratus cichlids natural food source is algae but those in aquariums will usually take whatever food that is fed to them.

See also

References

  1. ^ Kasembe, J. 2006. Melanochromis auratus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 April 2013.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). "Melanochromis auratus" in FishBase. February 2013 version.
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