Aphyosemion australe Rachow, 1921, Port-Gentil (formerly Cape Lopez), Gabon.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Chocolate australe, australe, Cape Lopez lyretail, lyretail panchax.
Grows to 2–2.4 in (5–6 cm). Sexually dimorphic and dichromatic. The male is slender-bodied and cylindrical in shape; the body has a slight curve to the dorsal surface. The head tapers to a terminal mouth, and the caudal peduncle is compressed and tapering. Dorsal fin is small and set far back, with its origin over the midpoint of the anal fin. Dorsal surface is chocolate brown, and anterior flanks are light metallic blue; red spots and splotches are scattered over the body and on the dorsal and anal fins. All fins show color, the dorsal and anal fins with orange and red margins. Anal fin tapers to a point, with its color grading into white; the upper and lower parts of the caudal fin have curved white extensions, giving this fin its characteristic lyre-tailed shape. The female is smaller, usually without much color. Sometimes golden, gray, or muddy, with rounded fins and iridescent bluish white margins on the pectoral fins. Body and unpaired fins have tiny red dots. All color and color patterns vary widely for both males and females.
South along the coasts of Gabon starting at the Ogowe River, the Congo, the Cabinda Enclave (Angola), and Zaire.
Found in swamps associated with small streams and rivers, rainforest swamps, and shallow flooded areas—quiet, weedchoked environments.
A peaceful species, easily kept in a heavily planted aquarium or one provided with spawning mops or with a combination of plants and mops.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Aquarists feed the chocolate lyretail brine shrimp—frozen or live—adult or newly hatched, and such live foods as fruit flies, daphnia, and tubificid worms. In nature, it is assumed that aquatic invertebrates and terrestrial insects are the chief component of the diet.
A typical plant spawner, the male courts the female with fins flared. A receptive female moves to the plants or spawning mop, where the pair presses against each other in an S shape, both of them quivering. The female releases an egg, which the male fertilizes. The adhesive egg sticks to the vegetation or mop. These eggs are collected easily and hatch in 14 days. It is estimated that some aquarium populations of the chocolate lyretail have been held and bred in aquaria continuously since 1913, yet differences are small compared with the wild forms from the type locality.
Not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Sold and exchanged among aquarium hobbyists and occasionally available in the aquarium trade.
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