Aulonocara stuartgranti "Chipoka"
by Marc Elieson
"Chipoka" is exported as the "Sunshine Peacock" or "Orange Peacock."
It is collected from Chidunga Rocks near Chipoka. It is very closely related to the "Yellow Regal Peaock", which is found nearby at the Maleri Islands. Both are considered to belong to the Aulonocara stuartgranti
complex, however, Konings has separated both of these stuartgranti
variants from the others and calls them Aulonocara
sp. "stuartgranti maleri". They do not differ from the other stuartgranti
species any more than the others do from one another; however, Konings believes they are a separate species - arising separately - because no intermediate populations exist between Mbenji and Maleri or between Mumbo and Fort Maguire.
Like all Aulonocara
species, Aulonocara stuargranti
"Chipoka" is a micro-predator. It uses the enlarged pores in its jaw to sense micro-movements in the sediment to detect prey. It also has a mild temperment and does best when housed with other mild-mannered cichlids, such as Utaka and other peacocks.
"Chipoka" is admired most for its brilliant orange, and sometimes reddish coloring. Differing in this regard from the other yellow-body, blue-headed peacocks, Aul. stuartgranti
"Chipoka" has been the subject of aggressive breeding programs in Germany. By selecting for the richer red characteristic, two line-bred variants were "developed" within the last decade, namely Aulonocara
sp. "German Red" and Aulonocara
sp. "Rubescens" (or Rubin Red). The naming of these two fishes was really illegitimate because they are not new "species." They really belong to the species classification of stuartgranti
"Chipoka." The name seems to have stuck in the hobby because it aids the aquarist in ordering and obtaining the red variety despite being a pseudo classification.