Melanotaenia salawati (male) - image© B. Dwisusilo

Melanotaenia salawati

Kadarusman, Sudarto, Slembrouck and Pouyaud, 2011
Salawati Rainbowfish

Species Summary
Melanotaenia salawati have a basic body colour that is generally azure blue dorsally; body scales with narrow dark outline; lower half side of body and belly whitish to pale blue neon with oblong blue blotch extending from just below pectoral-fin base to above middle of anal fin; a narrow gold stripe between each horizontal scale row on upper half of body side; a diffuse dark blotch immediately behind eye on uppermost part of operculum; a diffuse dark midlateral stripe about one scale wide anteriorly and about three scales wide on caudal peduncle; presence of 2-3 diffuse narrow bars in middle part of the body extending ventrally from midlateral stripe; pectoral fin translucent with some melanophores between rays; remaining fins with golden tint increasing from the base to the tip. Overall colour of females is similar but paler than males.

Except for the colouration, which is less intense in the female, there appears to be little differences between male and female. Males lack the pronounced depth of the body and the elongation of the posterior dorsal and anal fin rays. This is an unusual feature for Melanotaenia because males are generally deeper bodied than females and have a more elongate and pointed shape posteriorly on the soft dorsal and anal fins.

The species was named salawati, in reference to the type locality on the island of Salawati in the Raja Ampat Island Group lying immediately west of the Birdshead (Vogelkop) Peninsula.

Distribution & Habitat
Melanotaenia salawati is currently known only from Doktor Creek, flowing on the north-western part of Salawati Island in the vicinity of Waipule Village. The river consists of clear, shallow and fast flowing water over metamorphic gravel and pebble in dense forest. The name "doktor" was given by locals to the river (i.e. Kali Doktor) in allusion to the water properties known to treat superficial injuries.

Melanotaenia salawati (female) - image© B. Dwisusilo

Melanotaenia salawati was collected on the Island of Salawati (Raja Ampat) during an ichthyological survey in 2008. Several scientific expeditions have been undertaken since 2007 by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, the Akademi Perikanan Sorong and the Badan Riset Kelautan dan Perikanan in Depok.

Kadarusman, Sudarto, J. Slembrouck and L. Pouyaud (2011) Description of Melanotaenia salawati, a new species of rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae) from Salawati Island, West Papua, Indonesia. Cybium 35(3): 223-230.

Adrian R. Tappin
December, 2011

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Melanotaenia salawati