Astatotilapia latifasciata  (Regan 1929)



Systematics.  The genus Astatotilapia was described by Pellegrin (1903) and modified by Greenwood (1979, 1980).  This genus provisionally includes riverine Haplochromines from East Africa and possibly some Lake Victorian species (See Seehausen 1996 for discussion).  This species was described as Haplochromis latifasciatus (Regan 1929) and later ascribed to the genus Astatotilapia (Note the change in species name to match the gender of the genus).  This species name should be considered conditional and may change with future research.  This species is also frequently listed as Haplochromis "zebra obliquidens".




Astatotilapia latifasciata male 75 mm TL



Natural Habitat.  A. latifasciata has been reported to occur in Lake Nawampasa a small lake narrowly separated from the much larger Lake Kyoga, and in Lake Kyoga.  These lakes are located north of Lake Victoria in Uganda.  This species is considered critically endangered in the wild.


Captive Maintenance.  The striking red-orange coloration on the ventral flanks against black bars of adult males make this species a desirable aquarium specimen.  This species can be maintained in aquaria of 120 L (30 gallons) or more.  Raising a group of five or more fry is the best way to ensure obtaining both males and females if propagation is desired.  Males will begin to color at 25-40 mm(1.0-1.5 inches).  Females generally obtain nearly the same size as adult males, but lack the brilliant coloration on the flanks, and eggspots are less conspicuous or absent.  Maturity occurs at approximately 40 mm (1.5 inches).  Spawning is similar to other maternal mouthbrooders where a ripe female is attracted to a spawning site by male displays.  Eggs are deposited, then fertilized and brooded in the female's mouth.  Adult males will aggressively defend spawning sites.  Fecundity generally ranges from 20-60 with female size.  Hatching occurs in approximately eight days at 26.7 C (80 F) and fry are free swimming by day 20.  Fry will accept crushed flake and hatched artemia.  Fry also exhibit black vertical bars at approximately 12 mm (0.5 inches), making them more colorful than fry of most Victorian Haplochromines.  


Adult males may also be aggressive towards females when not spawning.  I have maintained groups of multiple males and females in a 225 L (55 gallon) aquaria with little incident, however a current male maintained in a 280 L (70 gallon) tank is very aggressive towards the females and will not tolerate other males.  Providing rockwork and robust tankmates may reduce male aggression.  Suitable tankmates include most Malawi mbuna and larger peacocks including Labidochromis caeruleus, Pseudotropheus saulosi, Labeotropheus trewavasae, and Aulonocara jacobfreibergi.

Literature Cited 

Greenwood, P.H.  1979.  Towards a phyletic classification of the 'genus' Haplochromis (Pices, Cichlidae) and related taxa.  Part I.  Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History (Zoology) 35:  265-322.

Greenwood, P.H.  1979.  Towards a phyletic classification of the 'genus' Haplochromis (Pices, Cichlidae) and related taxa.  Part II:  the species from Lake Victoria, Nabugabo, Edward, George, and Kivu.  Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History (Zoology) 39:  1-101.

Regan, C. T. 1929.  New cichlid fishes from lakes Victoria, Kyoga, and Albert. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (Ser. 10) 388-392

Seehausen, O.  1996.  Lake Victorian Rock Cichlids.  Verduyn Cichlids, Germany.




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