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Pundamilia nyererei "Makobe Island"
by Greg Steeves
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The species Pundamilia nyererei contains some of the brightest, most colorful fish on the planet. The brilliant radiance of this family rivals some of the pastel coloration found in marine reef fish. I feel a revision to this genus is nowhere near complete but using locale variants, we as hobbyists can single out sub-species of this huge family. Every locale in Lake Victoria where we find Pundamilia nyererei, coloration is usually different enough to be able to pinpoint original populations. One of my personal favorite locale variants of P. nyererei is the fish found around Makobe Island.

Makobe Island is in the southern portion of the lake, in the Speke Gulf. This area is a cichlid rich region where many other furu, or Victorian rock cichlids, are found. Native food consumed by the nyererei at Makobe Island consists mainly of invertebrates and plankton which frequent algae encrusted rocks. Males are slightly larger than females with vertical barring present on the flanks of both sexes. The Makobe Island variant of Pundamilia also appears to be deeper bodies than some found at other locales. In their native waters, only dominant males are solitary staking out a small territory and defending it against other fish. Sub-dominant males, females, as well as juveniles form schools in open water not far from shore where they feed on plankton. Interestingly, this fish seems to only school with fish of similar size. In the aquarium, one will have more success raising a group of fry together rather than establishing a population of a couple fish, than adding to it over time. In the closed confines of an aquarium, dominant males do not take well to the addition of other fish of even the same species, to their established group. If attempting to "build" a colony of nyererei, a large tank with plenty of cover and defined barriers should be used so that any harassed individuals may successfully find refuge.

Males of the Makobe Island locale of Pundamilia nyererei are incredibly beautiful. A deep red coloration is predominant in the upper half of the fish. The tip of the snout up to, and including the dorsal is this deep bright red color. Vertical black barring runs along the flanks fading out as it reaches the dorsal. the lower portion of the body is a bright yellow having the black body marking super imposed upon it. The tail fin is transparently faded red. The anal fin is a bright sky blue with several brightly colored yellow egg spots dotting it. Pectoral fins are jet black. One has to see this fish alive to fully realize it's beauty.

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