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Scientific Name: Chromidotilapia mrac
Pronunciation: kr
Common Name(s): Formally C. sp. "Ngounie" or C. sp. "Lambarene"
Geo. Origin: Gabon
Habitat: Shallow Forest Streams
Diet: Omnivore
Gender Differences: Dimorphic
Breeding: Maternal Mouthbrooder
Temperament: Mildly Aggressive
Conspecific Temperament: Aggressive
Maximum Size: 3.5""
Temperature: 72-76°F
pH: 6.5-7.2
Water Hardness: Soft
Difficulty: 3

Photo Credit: Dr. Anton Lamboj



Chromidotilapia mrac is named for the Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale (MRAC) in Tervuren, Belgium. It can be distinguished from the other Chromidotilapia species by the possession of 8-9 (vs. 10-16) gill rakers on the first ceratobranchial arch (except C. shoutedeni), a pattern of variable dark blotches and spots on the body, a shorter dorsal fin base (49.0-54.8% vs. 50.4-60.8% of standard length) and by it's breeding behavior. With the exception of C. kingsleyae, which is polygamous (Lamboj, 1998), all described Chromidotilapia species are monogamous, bi-parental ovophilic or immediate mouthbrooders. C. mrac, however, is a larvophilic or delayed mouthbrooder.

Due to it's pattern of dark blotches and spots on the flanks, C. mrac appears to be more closely related to C. kingsleyae, C. mamonekenei, C. elongata and C. nana, all of which sometimes share this characteristic, than to the other species of the genus. Based on coloration and breeding behavior, however, C. mrac is most likely more closely related to C. elongata, C. mamonekenei and C. nana than to C. kingsleyae, which is polygamous.

Given this Chromidotilapia species' unusual larvophilic breeding behavior within the the chromidotilapiine lineage, Dr. Lamboj suggests that the genus may be "more phylogenetically heterogeneous (evolutionarily non-uniform) than previously thought" (Lamboj, 2002). Within the chromidotilapiines only C. mrac, Benitochromis batesii and Limbochromis robertsi are larvophillic, but the first is structurally distinct from the latter two. This leads Dr. Lamboj to suggest that larvophillic mouthbrooding has evolved separately on several occasions within the chromidotilapiine tribe. â€"Randall Kohn



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