Melanotaenia rubripinnis (Siewa) - photo© Gerald Allen

Melanotaenia rubripinnis

Allen and Renyaan, 1998
Red-finned Rainbowfish

Species Summary
Melanotaenia rubripinnis have a body colouration that is red on the back, mainly white on lower half of body except for blue smudge above anterior part of anal fin. A black stripe runs from the rear edge of the eye to the pectoral fin base, continuing as a blue-black mid-lateral stripe to the base of caudal fin. The mid-lateral stripe is more or less uniform in width, bordered by a narrow blue stripe above and broader yellow stripe below. The dorsal, anal and caudal fins are red-orange. The pectoral and pelvic fins are translucent. Specimens from more open habitats are brown above and white below with a black mid-lateral stripe that is narrowly bordered above and below by a light blue stripe. Occasional specimens from mountain streams are uniformly bluish except for a white breast region and black stripe between the eye and pectoral-fin base. Males have a more intense colour pattern, especially specimens from dense lowland rainforest streams. May reach a maximum size of 12 cm, but usually less than 10 cm SL.

Distribution & Habitat
Melanotaenia rubripinnis is currently known only from tributary streams of the Tirawiwa and Logari river systems in north-western New Guinea. They were relatively common in a variety of habitats including tannin-stained creeks in lowland rainforest, larger streams in more open situations, and mountain tributaries to an elevation of about 400 metres above sea level. They have been found in quiet shaded pools, as well as sunlit sections of larger streams and relatively fast-flowing mountain streams. They were found together with Chilatherina alleni and Glossolepis leggetti. Melanotaenia rubripinnis and Chilatherina alleni generally co-occur in the same streams and are also sometimes found with Glossolepis leggetti in lowland streams immediately adjacent to foothills. Stream habitat consists of gravel, rock, and sandy bottom with log snags and leaf debris; water clear, but darkly stained with slight to moderate flow in closed-canopy rainforest. Water temperature 24-31°C, pH 6.0-7.8.

This species was named "rubripinnis" (Latin: with red fins), with reference to the characteristic fin colouration. Currently, no live specimens have been collected for the aquarium hobby.

Allen G.R. & S.J. Renyaan (1998) Three new species of rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae) from Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 3(2): 69-80.

Allen G.R. & S. Renyaan (2000) Fishes of the Wapoga River System. In: A. L. Mack and L. E. Alonso (eds.) A Biological Assessment of the Wapoga River Area of Northwestern West Papua, Indonesia. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 14, Conservation International, Washington, DC. pp 47-53, 101-112.

Adrian R. Tappin
Updated December, 2008

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Melanotaenia rubripinnis