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Library > Cichlids > General Articles > Taxonomy of Cichlids >Sub Family Etroplinae > Genera Paretroplus > Paretroplus kieneri
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Species Paretroplus kieneri  
Scientific classification
Image Credit : Fishbase
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Actinopterygii
Order : Perciformes
Suborder : Labroidei
Family : Cichlidae
Sub Family : Etroplinae
Genus : Paretroplus
Morphometric Data
Total Length (inches) 5.50
Standard Length (inches) 4.40
Measurements as a % of Standard Length
Fork _length
Pre_ anal _length
Pre dorsal_length
Pre_ pelvic_length
Body_ depth
Eye diameter (HL)
Pre_orbital_length (HL)
Snout_ length
Inter orbital_width (HL)
Pre orbital_depth (HL)
Caudal _peduncle_depth
Caudal _peduncle_length
Pectoral _fin_length
Pelvic_ fin_length
Length _of_last_ dorsal_ fin_spine
Scientific Name : Paretroplus kieneri
Common Name :
Geo Origin : AFRICA, Other African, Africa: Madagascar.
Conservation Status : Vulnerable
Diet : Carnivore
Gender Differences : Mono morphic
Breeding : Substrate Spawner
Temperament : Mildly aggressive
Con specific Temperament : Mildly aggressive
Standard Length : 4.4"
Total Length : 5.5 "
Water Hardness: ph range ; 6.5 to 8
Difficulty ; 4


Paretroplus kieneri is a medium sized fish in its genus. It has a standard length of 4.4" and total length of 5.5".

It has a relatively widespread distribution in northwest Madagascar, and it occurs in both rivers and the shallow and turbid flood plains which are found in this area.

(Click for details of Cichlid taxonomy)

Paretroplus kieneri was first described by Arnoult in 1960.

The genus Paretroplus is further divided several groups called clades.
P kieneri belongs to clade consisting of fish which are shallow-bodied and highly mottled species which are found in both rivers and lakes.
The other members of this clade are Paretroplus gymnopreopercularis .

The genus name Paretroplus comes from the Greek 'para' meaning 'on the side of'; in taxonomy it is commonly used in generic names to express similarity or relatedness
Hence the genus name literally means 'next to Etroplus' and signifies the close relationship these two genus have.

The species is named after A. Kiener, a French fisheries researcher who conducted numerous studies in Madagascar in the 1950s and 1960s, and who is credited with obtaining the type series.

(Click for description of fish body parts)

Paretroplus kieneri is a shallow bodied and small member of its clade
It has a standard length of 4.4" and a body depth of 48.5 % of SL.

Head is moderately pointed , head width is 17.8 % of SL.

Snout is moderately curved.

Predorsal profile is moderately curved and is 43.3 % of SL.
In case of specimens collected from Lake Kinkony the predorsal profile is moderately curved while in populations found in Mahajamba River population it is strongly curved.

A pointed head with moderately curved snout and predorsal contour gives the fish a beaky appearance when viewed from side.

Dorsal body outline is slightly curved,

Ventral(lower) outline mostly straight (except posteriorly).

Caudal peduncle is short, deep, and laterally compressed.

Total vertebral count is 32 or 33, 15-16 vertebra on body (pre caudal) and 16-17 on tail.

Lower and upper jaws are similar (isognathous). There is a single row of thin, flat, single cusp teeth in both upper and lower jaws.

Teeth are laterally expanded, flattened at crown. In upper jaw, tooth on either side of pre maxillary symphysial are greatly enlarged, other teeth graded in size laterally.

Lower-jaw teeth at symphysial are not enlarged, but reduced in size compared to adjacent lateral teeth, presumably to accommodate enlarged upper symphysial teeth.

Teeth in upper jaw number 4-7 on each side, and total 8-13.
Teeth in lower jaw number six to seven on each side, and total 13–16.
Teeth in both upper and lower jaws are frequently irregularly spaced and graded in size laterally.

Like all cichlids, P. kieneri have pharyngeal teeth.
Upper and lower pharyngeal tooth plates are well developed with strong teeth.

Body is covered with large, overlapping, cycloid scales.
Dorsal and Anal fin bases have well-developed ridges of scales.
Pelvic auxiliary scale are present and well developed.

Lateral-line contains 33–40 scales.

Chest scales are markedly reduced in size and embedded.
Scales along ventral midline are smallest.
There are four to five rows of scales on cheek. Opercle, subopercle, and interopercle scaled.
Snout, and region near eyes does not have any scales.

Scales on caudal fin are small in size and extending posteriorly about 3/4 length of fin on dorsal and ventral lobes, and 1/3 length of fin medially.

Dorsal fin is placed vertically above pectoral fins base and has XIII–XX spines, 13–15 soft rays.
Soft Dorsal fin is weakly pointed.

Anal fin has IX –XI spines, 11 –12 soft rays.
Soft anal fin is weakly pointed.

Caudal fin is concavely curved but not forked ( emarginate) , upper and lower lobes are broad and more-or-less rounded.

Pectoral fin is broad and rounded at the end .

Pelvic fin extends to about level of anal-fin origin.




Coloration :-

Base colour of body ranges from blotchy, mottled, and speckled yellowish orange, gray, and olive, to a speckled dark brown (usually a combination of these colors are present)

Coloration varies depending on drainage basin.

Body pigmentation is generally darker dorsally, but sometimes nearly uniformly pigmented.

Head region and fins frequently gray, dark gray, or mottled dark brown and gray.

No vertical bars present, even in juvenile specimens.

Juveniles are mottled golden and brown, and appearing camouflaged (under about 75 mm SL). Mottling in juveniles is in the form of large wavy blotches, as compared to much finer mottling and speckling in adults.

Geographical distribution

Paretroplus kieneri exhibits a relatively widespread distribution in northwestern Madagascar, and it occurs in both rivers and the shallow and turbid floodplain lakes characteristic of this region.

The species’ range is from southwest to northeast and includes the Mahavavy du Sud basin and Lake Kinkony (where it is presumed extinct), the lower Betsiboka basin, including Lake Ravelobe, the Akalimilotrabe (5 Kalamilotra) River, Lake Parinandrina , the Ikopa basin lakes, the upper Kamoro River, the Mahajamba River, and the Bemarivo basin and Lake Sarodrano, which are within the Sofia River drainage system (de Rham and Nourissat, 2004).

To the north and northeast of the Bemarivo drainage basin, P. kieneri is replaced by P. gymnopreopercularis, which appears to be endemic to the Amboaboa-Mangarahara river system, a tributary of the extensive Sofia River drainage basin.

No members of Paretroplus are known to occur to the southwest of the Mahavavy du Sud drainage system.

Interestingly, throughout much of its range, specimens collected over the past decade generally appear to be in poor physical condition, being both emaciated and heavily infested with parasites.

De Rham and Nourissat (2004) report that the Lake Kinkony (topotypic) population of P. kieneri is extinct, with no specimens collected since the mid-1990s

At that time, P. dambabe was still relatively common in Lake Kinkony (now also presumed extinct in the basin),

Fortunately, de Rham and Nourissat (2004) report that P. kieneri is still abundant in some habitats, and although they do not specify which populations, one can assume they are referring to the recently discovered upper Kamoro and Mahajamba river populations (both of which have been included in this study).

Habitat :

P kieneri occurs in both rivers and the shallow and turbid floodplain lakes characteristic of this region

Conservation Status :

IUCN Red list shows status of Paretroplus kieneri as "Vulnerable".

This species is known from the lower reaches of the Mahavavy du Sud, Betispoka and Mahajamba river basins and associated lakes in western Madagascar.

It has an extent of occurrence of less than 20,000 km², and the habitat is fragmented due to deforestation in the associated catchments.

It is also threatened by competition and predation from introduced fish species.

P kieneri therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Major Threats:

Habitat destruction, overfishing, and competition from a number of exotic species, primarily tilapiine cichlids and the Asian snakehead are major threats faced all madagascar Cichlids.



It is carnivore and should be given corresponding diet.
Frozen shrimp, mussels, live snails can be give.

Tank Size & setup :


Water Parameters:

These fish live in rivers and large lakes, and need exceptionally clean water.

As their diet is rich in proteins the filteration should be very good.

Tank Mates:


Sexual Dimorphism:

There are no sexually dimorphic features apparent.




  Sandeep Raghuvanshi
Citations/Further Reading  

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors:Fishbase, World Wide Web electronic, version (10/2013),2013, ISBN :

ITIS: Integrated Taxonomic Information System,,, ISBN :

John S. Sparks:Phylogeny of the Cichlid subfamily Etroplinae and the Taxonomic revision of the Malagasy Cichlid Genus Paretroplus,2008,Bulletin of American Museum of Natural History ISBN :