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The Barombi Mbo Sponge Eater
Pungu maclareni
by Troy Veltrop
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The female, two hours later, came up for food and was devoid of eggs. I have no idea what happened to the eggs she was holding. I assume the swarm of P. maclareni interrupted the spawning process and the eggs were never fertilized. Possibly she spit them as she was being harassed by the other P. maclareni. I have twice now witnessed this behavior. Neither time have I actually seen P. maclareni rob the eggs but there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence to support that is what had happened. Fry of P. maclareni look nothing at all like their parents, at least in coloration. The body shape is there but the black speckling and black coloration on the throat, chin, and operculum are absent for over three months after they are free swimming. The eight fry released in mid April were just starting to develop some black coloration when I sent them down to the Hill Country Cichlid Club at the end of July of this year. The remaining fry from the May and June spawns are a dull silvery-yellow color, although there are signs of the red edging on the dorsal and caudal fins. The fry are slow growing despite their voracious appetites for baby brine shrimp and crushed spirulina flake, and are an absolute joy to watch.

One Person Cannot Save Them All, But We Can All Save Just One! In conclusion, I would like to say how enjoyable it has been for me to keep P. maclareni in my fishroom. They are a worthy addition to any cichlid collection, especially if you happen to focus on fish included on the C.A.R.E.S. Preservation Program Conservation Priority Species at Risk List. The fish on this list may one day be gone and it is of the utmost importance for us to maintain captive populations. Pungu maclareni is on this list as Critically Endangered and is a peaceful, easy to maintain fish. So rush out and grab a colony to add to your collection today. Remember, "One person cannot save them all, but we can all save just one!"



Originally published in the Buntbarsche Bulletin, official publication of the American Cichlid Association, Inc. (ACA).

References
Cichlid Room Companion. www.cichlidae.com/gallery/species.php?s=971

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/ 18879/0

Lamboj, Anton. 2004. "The Cichlid Fishes of Western Africa." Birgit Schmettkamp. Verlag, Germany. p. 46.

Loiselle, Paul V. 2003. 'The Aquarium Husbandry of the Pungu, Pungu maclareni.' Cichlid News. January. pp. 6-15.

Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS) on Ramsar Wetlands. 2006-2008. www.ramsar.org/ris/key_ris_index.htm

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