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Pundamilia sp. "blue bar"
by Greg Steeves
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Pundamilia sp. "blue bar" attains a size of 14cm for males, 12cm for females. The jaw contains 3-5 rows of teeth. The outer row consists of mostly unicuspid with some bicuspid frontal teeth especially in smaller individuals. The cranial slope is mostly straight with an indentation at eye level giving the impression of s slight nuchal hump. Dominant male body coloration is grey blue fading to a turquoise underbelly. Passive males have a green sheen and lighter body tinge. Seven vertical bars stripe the body. Another bar splits the gill plate and continues on across the head. Another vertical bar begins under the corner of the mouth and in an "s" shape passes through the eye and on across the forehead. Two horizontal bars cross the snout between the eyes and lips. The pectoral fins are black. The anal fin is blue at the base, streaked blood red at the outer portion and is dotted with 5-11 yellow egg spots. The caudal fin has red trim with bright blue highlights between rays. The dorsal fin is blue with a thin line of red running along the outer edge. There are black blotches at the base of the dorsal where the body stripping meets. Females are typical of other Pundamilia types. Seven vertical black bars line a tan brown body. The anal and caudal fins have a yellow tinge to them. Females sometimes carry an egg spot on the anal fin as well.

In a species only tank, Pundamilia sp. "blue bar" males are aggressive to each other. The fighting usually leads to torn fins. The fish on the losing side of this hostile behavior cowers in a corner or hides somewhere out of sight. Even the females establish a hierarchy amongst themselves and are not above taking a nip at each other as well. In captivity, Pundamilia sp. "blue bar" should be maintained in a large tank. Suitable tank mates include many of the Lake Malawi Protomeleus. We have also had good luck housing our colony with Cyphotilapia gibberosa. They are not aggressive with other species when given ample room. Our colony is part of a 125 gallon cichlid collection with the two afore mentioned species along with Orthostoma stormsi, and larger Synodontis species.

Nourishing Pundamilia sp. "blue bar" is easily done with good commercial flake. Some protein matter such as white worms or brine shrimp supplements the insect matter that is presumably a portion of their wild diet. Spawning occurs in the typical haplochromine manner. Gestation is about 18 days. The fry are easily reared on crushed flake and Cyclop-eezeŽ.

Pundamilia sp. "blue bar" is a good candidate for populating a summer pond. The larger size of this species and splashes of color make for a delightful outside candidate. So long as there are suitable areas for the fry to inhabit without being eaten, a season in the pond will produce ample individuals for the future of your colony.

Originally published in The Lateral Line, the official publication of the Hill Country Cichlid Club.

References:
Seehausen, O., E. Lippitsch, N. Bouton & H. Zwennes. 1998. Mbipi, the rock-dwelling cichlids of Lake Victoria: description of three new genera and fifteen new species. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 9: 179-197.

Fermon, Yves & C. Cibert. Ecomorphological individual variation in a population of Haplochromis nyererei from the Tanzanian part of Lake Victoria. Journal of Fish Biology (1998) p 53, 66-83.

Seehausen, Ole. Lake Victoria Rock Cichlids. Verduyn Cichlids, 1996.

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