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

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 (Ref. 5663, 89864).
  • Konings, A.F. and J.R. Stauffer Jr. 2012 Review of the Lake Malawi genus Melanochromis (Teleostei: Cichlidae) with a description of a new species. Zootaxa 3258:1-27. (Ref. 89864)
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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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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 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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Habitat Type: 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.)
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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Trypanosoma Infection. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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Pseudomonas infection. Bacterial diseases
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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Hole-in-the-Head Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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Fin-rot Disease (late stage). Bacterial diseases
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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Fin Rot (early stage). Bacterial diseases
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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Cryptobia Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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Bacterial Infections (general). Bacterial diseases
  • Bassleer, G. 1997 Color guide of tropical fish diseases: on freshwater fish. Bassleer Biofish, Westmeerbeek, Belgium. 272 p. (Ref. 41805)
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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

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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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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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)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

aquarium: highly commercial
  • Konings, A. 1990 Ad Konings's book of cichlids and all the other fishes of Lake Malawi. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. 495 p. (Ref. 5595)
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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.

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]

In the Aquarium[edit]

The auratus cichlid is one of the most popular mbuna cichlids in the aquarium trade. 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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 Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Melanochromis auratus" in FishBase. February 2013 version.
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