Species Article: Lake Victoria & Area

Astatotilapia latifasciata

by Greg Steeves

Lake Nawampasa is a small lake that houses remnants of the beautiful cichlid populations once found in Lake Kyoga. Lake Nawampasa is separated from Lake Kyoga by a small strip of swamp that is disappearing rapidly. It is here that Astatotilapia latifasciata is found. Unfortunately, it seems that the Haplochromine cichlids from the Kyoga lakes region are suffering the same plight as the mbipi from Lake Victoria are. So far, a populaton of Astatotilapia latifasciata (as of 1997) still survives in Lake Nawampasa, as do somewhere in the range of 23 other Haplochromines from the Lake Kyoga species flock.

Astatotilapia latifasciata is commonly sold as Haplochromis sp. "zebra obliquidens". Over all body color is yellow with vertical triangular barring throughout. Males turn bright red on the belly. This fish is a beautiful "hap" and unmistakable in appearance. It is one of the fish from the Lake Victoria region that should be no problem to correctly identify.

Males will grow to five inches, while the females will stay slightly smaller. If one intends to spawn this fish, it is best to have a small group of two or three males and double the number of females. Displaying aggression between males, it is thought, will trigger the hormonal ugres of the group into reproduction.

In the aquarium, Astatotilapia latifasciata will thrive readily on commercial flake. They are not overly aggressive and can be easily housed with many of the smaller mbuna and Auloncara from Lake Malawi. If the other species of cichlids from Lake Nawampasa are even half as beautiful as the latifasciata, I'm sure hobbyists from around the world will be trying to acquire them.

 



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