Melanotaenia bowmani - photo© Gary Lange

Melanotaenia bowmani

Allen, Unmack & Hadiaty, 2016
Bowman's Rainbowfish

Species Summary
Adult male Melanotaenia bowmani are golden brown dorsally on head and body, whitish on ventral portions; blackish midlateral stripe from eye to caudal-fin base, usually faint on anterior and middle section of body, but prominent posteriorly, widest portion on caudal peduncle where it covers 1.5-2 horizontal scale rows; narrow bronze coloured stripe between each scale row on upper half of side; 1-2 scale rows above dark midlateral stripe and row below it mainly pale grey or whitish, except row below with broad yellow-orange scale margins on posterior third of body; bluish zone anteriorly on lower side beginning at level of lower pectoral-fin base, extending posteriorly to above anterior part of anal fin, merging with diffuse greyish area that extends nearly to beginning of lower caudal peduncle, also numerous pepper-like melanophores overlying lowermost 2-3 scales rows on side; upper portion of opercle silvery with red spot (about one-half pupil size); diffuse brownish stripe from anterior edge of eye to upper jaw; first dorsal fin bluish anteriorly, grading to dusky yellow posteriorly; second dorsal and anal fins yellow basally and mainly translucent on outer half, except middle part of anterior half of second dorsal turquoise; caudal fin semi-translucent greyish; pelvic fins white; pectoral fins mainly translucent.

Melanotaenia bowmani is a member of the "Goldiei" rainbowfish group that share a wide range of morphological and meristic features and lack notable differences, as would be expected for closely related species. Due to their great similarity, the species belonging to the "Goldiei" group are most reliably distinguished on the basis of genetic differences, colouration, and their geographically isolated distribution. The challenge with the "Goldiei" species group is that while they all have strong genetic differences and some clear colouration differences, morphological and meristic differences are minimal in most cases.

Melanotaenia bowmani - photo© Gary Lange

Distribution & Habitat
Melanotaenia bowmani is currently known from at least two locations from the Siriwo River system in West Papua. It was encountered at two bridge crossings along the Nabire-Enarotali road. In both cases the fish occurred in moderately fast-flowing conditions over rocky bottoms. Temperature and pH values of 22°C and 6.5 respectively were recorded at the time of collection (August 2012).

This species was named in honour of Australian aquarist Ron Bowman who devoted much of his life to keeping and breeding rainbowfishes, and in recognition of his many years of service in connection with the Australia New Guinea Fishes Association (ANGFA) and its journal Fishes of Sahul.

Allen G.R., P.J. Unmack and R.K. Hadiaty (2016) The Goldiei group of rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae) from the Birds Neck Region of New Guinea (Papua and West Papua Provinces, Indonesia) with descriptions of five new species and recognition of Melanotaenia dumasi Weber. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 22(1): 1-32.

Adrian R. Tappin
January, 2016

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Melanotaenia bowmani