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Neochromis omnicaeruleus
by Greg Steeves
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With the largest work regarding species description since the Greenwood glory days, Seehausen opened many eyes in 1998. Adhering to the depiction of Neochromis omnicaeruleus, it was clear that our 'tricolor fulu' had a name. While it is assumed that this variant originated in the south portion of Lake Victoria, I have never been able to ascertain its exact collection location. The variant originating from Ruti Island does show much similarity to the 'tricolor fulu'.


Neochromis omnicaeruleus Ruti Island

In the time since the emergence of Neochromis omnicaeruelues 'tricolor fulu' to the hobby, we have been fortunate to have had several other location variants of this species enter the cichlid scene. A massive hobbyist initiated shipment from German aquarists introduced two location of N. omnicaeruleus, Makobe Island and Ruti Island. As stated earlier, the 'tricolor fulu' closely resembles the Ruti Island variation. The N. omnicaeruleus from Makobe Island on the other hand, is quite distinct. The male is has a light blue base coloration with the black vertical barring previously described. The caudal fin blue with red dotting between the fin rays. There is a red trim to this appendage as well. The dorsal fin as a dark base but the primary color is blue. Red trim and spotting is also found on the dorsal, particularly towards the posterior portion. The anal fin is blue with small egg spots. The striking pelvic fins are jet-black and contrast beautifully with the body coloration. The female N. omnicaeruleus is piebald. Her entire body and finnage is marbled with black and white patches. This is one of the more visually appealing female cichlids of Lake Victoria. Interestingly and a rare find, occasionally a piebald male will be produced. These fish are extremely attractive with the piebald coloration prominent with red and cyan highlights not seen in females.


Neochromis omnicaeruleus Makobe Island

Recently, two wild caught commercial shipments from Lake Victoria were made. Amongst the fish brought in were some adult Neochromis omnicaeruleus from Makobe Island. This population has the bright blue male however the females are all orange blotched. Working with this group has yielded many fry which have all turned out to have the orange blotched females and blue males. No piebald males have been thrown from these fish. All females have been orange blotched. This is a contrast to the Makobe Island population established in Germany and sent to the US earlier. A second commercial export included additional Neochromis omnicaeruleus again from Makobe Island. This group included exclusively males and females that were polychromatic. Interestingly, as the fry from these fish have colored, the traditional blue Makobe male has developed. I am yet to see a piebald male emerge from the fry thrown by their piebald parents. As Makobe Island in Lake Victoria is a fairly large piece of land, it can be surmised that there are multiple and distinct populations of Neochromis omnicaeruleus here. This phenomenon has been seen in other species of fulu at Makobe Island including the gorgeous Pundamilia nyererei. It is known that N. omnicaeruleus has a wide distribution in Speke and Mwanza Gulfs. Time will certainly yield additional treasures from this assemblage.

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