From Sambilano River
A Paretroplus damii from Sambilano river [Madagascar]. Photo by Jean Claude Nourissat. determiner Juan Miguel Artigas Azas




Paretroplus damii



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Paretroplus damii Bleeker, 1868

Dridrimena; Filaopisaka; Loakapisaka.


Original description as Paretroplus damii:


  • Bleeker, Pieter. 1868. "Description de trois espèces inédites de Chromidoïdes de Madagascar". Verslagen en Mededeelingen van de Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam, Afdeeling Natuurkunde. 2:307-309 (crc00015)

Taxonomic history:

Etymology: Named in honor of the Dutch naturalist Van Dam, who along with F. Pollen, collected the type material (Sparks, 2008).

Common names: Madagascar: Dridrimena, Filaopisaka, Loakapisaka.

Types: syntypes (2): MRAC 3.939 (1), MRAC 4.478 (1).

Diagnosis: Sparks, 2008: A Paretroplus belonging to Clade E, comprising P. damii, P. nourissati, P. tsimoly, and P. lamenabe, and distinguished from all congeners by the presence of a triangular, black pectoral-axil patch in combination with the absence of a series of vertical bars on the flanks. In life, unstressed individuals can easily be distinguished from all congeners by the presence of a broad, vertical pale yellow band on the anterior half of the flanks. Young Paretroplus damii are unique among congeners in the possession of a dark blotch, surrounded by a hyaline ring, posteriorly on the soft dorsal fin near its base. In preservation, Paretroplus damii is the only member of Paretroplus that exhibits a solid grayish brown to brown base coloration and the absence of vertical barring.

Size: de Rham & Nourissat, 2005:115 talk about an specimen which is close to 40 cm.

Type locality: Lake Pambilao, Nossi-Bé, Madagascar.

Distribution: Widespread in northwestern and far northern Madagascar. Along the northwestern versant of the island, the known range of Paretroplus damii extends in the south from the Anjingo-Ankofia River basin and Lake Andrapongy northward to the rivers (Sahinana and Sampiana) draining the western slopes of the Montagne d'Ambre massif in far northern Madagascar (de Rham & Nourissat, 2005).

Habitat: Rivers and lakes with sand, rock or mud substrate, water soft but alkaline with a ph 8 or more. Aquatic vegetation normally absent (de Rham & Nourissat, 2005). Individuals from Ramena River (probably a contraction of "rano mena" = red water) in the granitic basin of the Sambirano River live in an acid water (ph around 6.5) and slightly black with a very low hardness (no more than 1°dGH). But in some other lakes, water can be quite alkaline (ph over 8), but still with very low hardness (2-3° GH). Water temperature often surpasses 30°C.

Conservation: Paretroplus damii is evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species as (VU) vulnerable (2016).

Feeding: No data available.

Breeding: As with other Paretroplus, males guard the spawn, wrigglers and fry in this species, as opposite with most substrate spawning cichlids (Michael Negrini, personal communication).

Aquaristics: Paretroplus damii was first reproduced in captivity in the pools of Jean-Claude Nourissat in the beginning or the 2000s. The fish were captured in Lake Babano, basin of Manamjeba north of Ambilobe in 1999. The juveniles have been distributed in France.

The tank should be at least 130 cm long and 50 cm wide. pH 6-7, hardness GH 0-10, temperature 27-28 C. Ideally there should be 40 - 60 litres of water for each fish. Care should be taken so that their diet is varied and balanced (e.g. spinach, daphnia). Minimum aquarium size should be considered to be 400 lt (ca 100 gallons), but ideally considerably larger. This species may be considered one of the more aggressive of the Paretropliines, but no more so than many comparably sized Mesoamericans, for example. They do possess the snail-picking teeth at the tip of the upper jaw, as seen in other Paretropliines, but they do not appear to be as enthusiastically malacophagous as the deep-bodied Paretroplus. They accept a very wide range of quality foods, with frozen foods such as insect larvae and crustaceans being ideal for conditioning (Pete Liptrop, personal communication).

Comments: The type locality at the island of Nosy Be off the coast in northwest Madagascar has failed to produce any more specimens but those two reported by Bleeker (1868) and used in the original description, despite several expeditions. De Rham & Nourissat (2005) indicate that their Malagasy guide collected individuals of Paretroplus damii in the crater Lake Djabala in the island of Nosy Be (adjacent to the type locality), considering them similar to those Paretroplus damii in the mainland and not preserving any individuals.

It has been suggested that two forms of Paretroplus damii referred as Paretroplus sp. "dridrimena" (from the western slope of the Massif d'Ambre, the Mananjeba, Mahavavy du Nord, and Ifasy rivers in northwest Madagascar) and P. sp. "ventitry" (Mahanara drainage, northeastern Madagascar) from mainland Madagascar could be in fact distinct species (de Rham & Nourissat, 2005). Nevertheless Sparks (2008) found no apomorphic features to differentiate those forms and support an specific status.

The broad pale yellow vertical band in the anterior part of the flanks can in occasions be brick red.

References (4):

  • Bleeker, Pieter. 1868. "Description de trois espèces inédites de Chromidoïdes de Madagascar". Verslagen en Mededeelingen van de Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam, Afdeeling Natuurkunde. 2:307-309 (crc00015)
  • Boulenger, George Albert. 1899. "A revision of the African and Syrian fishes of the family Cichlidae. Part II". Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. 98-143(1-47): (crc00051)
  • Sparks, John S.. 2008. "Phylogeny of the cichlid subfamily Etroplinae and taxonomic revision of the malagasy cichlid genus Paretroplus (teleostei: cichlidae)". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. (314):1-151. DOI: 10.1206/314.1 (crc01597) (abstract)
  • de Rham, Patrick & Jean-Claude Nourissat. 2005. "The Endemic Cichlids of Madagascar". Association France Cichlid. 189 .. ISBN: 2-9513502-0-2 (crc01326)


Artigas Azas, Juan Miguel. (Aug 09, 2008). "Paretroplus damii Bleeker, 1868". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Feb 24, 2024, from: (crc10598)