Melanotaenia ericrobertsi (male) - photo© Taoyeah Deng

Melanotaenia ericrobertsi

Allen, Unmack and Hadiaty 2014
Suswa Rainbowfish

Species Summary
Adult males of Melanotaenia ericrobertsi have the upper part of the head and predorsal region greenish-brown; body generally mauve to yellowish, usually with narrow orange stripe between each horizontal scale row; body scales with narrow brown margins, imparting overall network appearance; blackish patch, mainly covering first 3-4 mid-lateral scales behind pectoral-fin base; prominent blackish zone occupying lower two-thirds of caudal peduncle and adjacent body above last few anal rays; head with broad black stripe behind eye, extending to upper rear margin of operculum, usually with silvery yellow or reddish spot immediately below; remainder of operculum and adjacent cheek dusky greyish; pelvic and median fins reddish with narrow white margin on dorsal fins; submarginal blackish stripe present on second dorsal fin of adults, but often poorly developed; pectoral fins translucent. Young specimens, approximately 5 cm total length, are similar, but generally pinkish overall rather than yellowish. Typical Melanotaenia sexual differences consist of a deeper body, taller first dorsal fin, and longer soft dorsal and anal rays. Males generally have the longest anal rays at the beginning of the fin compared to the middle of the fin in females.

Melanotaenia ericrobertsi (female) - photo© Taoyeah Deng

Distribution & Habitat
Melanotaenia ericrobertsi is currently known only from the vicinity of Suswa Village, which is situated in the foothills of the Tamrau Mountains at an elevation of about 176 m, approximately 120 km east of the city of Sorong. The type locality is part of the extensive Kladuk River system and is approximately 215 km upstream from the Karabra Estuary on the south coast of the Birds Head Peninsula. The stream, which ranged from about 15 to 30 m in width at the type locality, was flowing through primary and secondary rainforest habitat over gravel and sand substrate with minimal aquatic vegetation. Temperature and pH values of 27-28°C and 7.5 were recorded at the time of collection.

Melanotaenia ericrobertsi is named ericrobertsi in honour of Eric Roberts, a pilot with Associated Mission Aviation (AMA), Papua Province, Indonesia. Eric is an aquarium fish enthusiast who collected live specimens and is responsible for the introduction of this species to the aquarium hobby.

Allen G.R., P.J. Unmack and R.K. Hadiaty (2014) Three new species of Rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae) from the Birds Head Peninsula, West Papua Province, Indonesia. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 20(3): 139-158.

Graf J. (2009) Two new rainbowfishes (Melanotaenia affinis "Bonggo" and Melanotaenia sp. "Suswa Village". Fishes of Sahul 23(1): 478-481.

Adrian R. Tappin
Updated September, 2015

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Melanotaenia ericrobertsi