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Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos
by Peter Hofman

Male Mel. cyaneorhabdosMelanochromis cyaneorhabdos (formerly known as Melanochromis "maingano" or misspelled as "manigano"). This species is endemic to a small region on the northeast shore of Likoma Island from Mbako Point to Membe Point (Maingano is a village on this stretch of shoreline), feeding on benthic invertebrates and zooplankton (Ribbink et al., 1983: 207)." Its name is descriptive for the species with cyaneo meaning "blue" and rhabdos meaning "bar".

Like other Melanochromis species, it has a torpedo-like body. Dark blue with lighter blue stripes adorn its body. Difference between males and females would be that the females have a light-colored belly with relatively shorter pelvic fins, while the males have dark bellies and longer pelvic fins.

The M.cyaneorhabdos does not maintain territories, but due to their fierce character, males tend to fight a lot, which looks like territorial behaviour. They are polygamous mouthbrooders, and males are extremely intolerant of each other. Brooding Female Mel. cyaneorhabdosFemales hold for about 21 days during which period they try to hide. After spitting the fry, they come out of hiding again.

M.cyaneorhabdos can reach a size between 8 and 10 cm (3-4 in.). It should not be kept together with other Melanochromis because they see other horizontally-stripped cichlids as a threat and could get rather aggressive. There is also a risk of crossbreeding when you are mixing different species from this genus.

In the wild, M.cyaneorhabdos is commonly observed over small to medium-sized rocks and typically feeds on zooplankton and epibenthic invertebrates. □


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