Common Name: Lake Mbuta Rainbowfish
Scientific Name: Pelangia mbutaensis Allen, 1998
Body colour yellowish-tan grading to silvery-white on lower half of sides.
Larger males have scattered yellow flecks along the middle of the side. Fins
are mainly translucent except for dusky grey pigmentation on the first
Lake Mbuta Basin, lying approximately 8 km inland from Etna Bay, Irian Jaya.
Lake Mbuta is represented on published maps and charts as a lake, but is
actually a swampy basin surrounded by low mountains. The basin, which is
roughly circular, is mainly covered by swamp overgrowth with numerous small
ponds, creeks, and at least one small river.
Collected only from a small clear, but darkly stained freshwater creek,
relatively fast flowing through forest that formed a nearly closed canopy.
The bottom consisted mainly of mud with occasional rocks and log debris with
sparse aquatic vegetation. A water temperature of 25░ Celsius and pH of 6.4
were recorded. Co-occurs with Melanotaenia goldiei. The new species was
relatively common but outnumbered by Melanotaenia goldiei by a 3:1 ratio.
Body laterally compressed and elongated; body depth generally increasing
with age and slightly greater in adult males compared to similar-sized
females. Two dorsal fins, very close together, the first much smaller than
the second. Mature males have a higher first dorsal fin, which overlaps the
origin of the second dorsal fin when depressed. Females have smaller rounded
dorsal and anal fins. May reach a maximum size of 6 cm, but usually less
than 5 cm.
The species is named pelangia after the Indonesian name for rainbow
(pelangi) with reference to the common name for the family Melanotaeniidae.
Literature including picture in:
G. R. Allen (1998) A new genus and species of Rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae)
from fresh waters of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Revue Franšaise d'Aquariologie
25 (1-2): 11-16.
Adrian R. Tappin
"Home of the Rainbowfish"