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'Haplochromis' thereuterion
by Greg Steeves (Gas)
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From the northern areas of Mwanza Gulf, Lake Victoria originates a rather unique cichlid: 'Haplochromis' thereuterion. It can be found over areas of rock and stony outcroppings at Nyegezi Bay, Nyegezi Rocks, Hippo Island, Anchor Island and along the mainland shore (Seehausen, 1996). Before the Lates niloticus cichlid onslaught of the 80's, 'H.' thereuterion was a surface feeding insectivore found in large groups inhabiting the upper portion of the water column and feeding in the open. For several years it was thought that this species was another victim that L. niloticus had pushed to extinction. In 1996 Seehausen found this species once again at Kissenda Island in the northwest portion of Mwanza Gulf. The ever adaptable cichlid had not only changed its habitat (now a rock cichlid as many other furu) but also its feeding strategy and now subsisted mainly on insect larvae.

The basic body shape is reminiscent of the many species included in the Tanganyikan genus Cyprichromis. Interestingly, the similar body shape was not the only characteristic that these fish shared. Their very behavior in many ways paralleled one another. This translates well to the aquarium. If one has had success with Cyprichromis, following the same basic regiment, one should do fine with 'H.' thereuterion.

At inhabited locations in Mwanza Gulf, 'H.' thereuterion was commonly found with a very similar species 'Haplochromis' tanaos. 'H.' tanaos colonized areas where a sand bottom was prevalent but the two species had areas where both overlapped. Upon initial observation, in similar sized individuals, 'H.' thereuterion has larger teeth than the closely related 'H.' tanaos. These fish are dubbed the "double stripped" group. Swedish collector Bo Selbrink (known to North American hobbyists for collection and introduction of the long forgotten Prognathochromis perrieri and many others) in the 1980's imported similar fish from Ugandan waters. There is also 'Haplochromis' diplotaenia and Prognathochromis sp. cf. longirostris which may belong in this grouping.

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