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Protomelas vs Placidochromis johnstoni

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Post Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:55 am
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12245
Location: apple valley, mn
A situation exists between three species of fish from Lake Malawi that look quite similar, leading to confusion perhaps.

Two species have been known for some time, Placidochromis milmo and Placidochromis johnstoni. These two species show some similarities in pattern displayed. However, enough differences exist that they can be separated based on appearance. Placidochromis johnstoni is always found in packs of own or other species in muddy bays with plants or if with a large group of predators over the open sand areas close to rocky areas in Lake Malawi. Only one male will show color in the group but other males are tolerated. Placidochromis milmo also feeds in packs hunting in the rocky habitat pressing their lips to crevices to suck out prey such as fry. The lips of P. milmo become enlarged and rubbery to assist in acquiring food.

The third species has a provisional name of Protomelas sp. "johnstoni solo". This name was selected because it looks similar to Placidochromis johnstoni (perhaps closer than P. milmo). Protomelas sp. "johnstoni solo" does not feed in groups. As the name suggests this Protomelas feeds alone, picking through loose rock looking for small animals. Protomelas sp. "johnstoni solol" has a lake-wide distribution is found where small rocks are adjacent to rocky habitat.

I believe Ad Konings assigned the name johnstoni solo and placed fish in Protomelas genera. However, the fish has not been diagnosed.
Ad has also written that he believes that Placidochromis johnstoni and Placidochromis milmo need to be reassigned to genus Protomelas and work is in progress to this end.

If anyone has further information about this situation, please add it.
Like a complete unknown

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