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Pseudotropheus sp. "Orange Cap"
by Marc Elieson

Male Pseudotropheus sp. ''Orange Cap''Pseudotropheus sp. "Orange Cap" is named for the brownish to orange colored head and neck area. This particular male does not have a very apparent "orange cap," although at times it would seem to be a mood dependent trait. Some specimens do not show, in terms of coloration, a clearly delimited anterior head and neck area; rather the different colors sort of flow into each other. Not visible in this photograph, but clearly noticeable in person are orangish-red tips on its dorsal and caudal fins.

This small and somewhat elongate mbuna hails from Pombo Reef, Tanzania. Another population has also been discovered at Undu Point, although males belonging to this second population have a body color much more blue and its "cap" is more yellowish-blue instead of brownish-orange. Females of this species are gray to brownish in body color. Juveniles and females have dark vertical bars, but these are mood dependent in adult females. The egg spots on this species are striking, and some spectacular specimens even have them on their ventral fins!

The number of egg spots on the anal fin varies greatly between these populations, and even to some degree within each population. These two populations (Undu Point and Pombo Reef) live above stony, partly intermediate substrates at depths of about 3 to 8 meters. This species is not very abundant at either location. Males are territorial, defending small territories whose center is usually a stony crevice. In the aquarium, conspecifics are chased and are not well tolerated. In the wild, females are solitary and are usually found hidden between stones. This mbuna is an algae-scraping cichlid, and also feeds on aufwuchs. Spirulina-based flake foods are recommended above other types of food. □


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