Sunday,26 September 2021, 6 : 58 AM

Paretroplus menarambo

P macalutus
Paretroplus menarambo
Image Credit: Mel Robinson


Paretroplus menarambo is a medium sized fish in its genus. It has a standard length of 4.8" and total length of 5.5".
Paretroplus menarambo is thought to be extinct in wild, however currently some specimens have been sighted in vicinity of Lake Sarodrano which is type location for this species.


(Click for details of Cichlid taxonomy)

Paretroplus menarambo Paretroplus menarambo was first described by Allgayer in 1966.
The genus Paretroplus is further divided several groups called clades.
P menarambo belongs to clade consisting of compressed Paretroplus belonging to Clade I, which comprises all deep-bodied and essentially disk-shaped members of Paretroplus.
The other members of this clade are P. dambabe,, P. maromandia, P. macalatus, P. petiti, and P. polyactis.
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 name menarambo refers a combination of two words of malagasy words "mena" which means red and "rambo" which means tail.
This reflects the red margin found in tail of mature specimens.


Paretroplus menarambo is a deep bodied and small member of its clade.
It has a standard length of 4.8" and a body depth of 57.7 % of SL.
Head is blunt and steeply sloping in lateral view, head length is 29.3% of SL and head width is 16.0 % of SL.
Predorsal profile is rounded and markedly convex in larger individuals.
Caudal peduncle is short, deep, and laterally compressed.
Total vertebral count is 32 or 34, 15-16 vertebra on body (pre caudal) and 17-19 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 6-8 on each side, and total 14-15.
Teeth in lower jaw number 3-5 on each side, and total 06 –10.
Teeth in both upper and lower jaws are frequently irregularly spaced and graded in size laterally.

Like all cichlids, P. menarambo 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 34–38 scales.
Chest scales are markedly reduced in size and embedded.
Scales along ventral midline are smallest.
There are 6-7 rows of scales on cheek.
Opercle, subopercle, and interopercle are scaled.
Snout, and region near eyes do 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 slightly anterior of vertical line of pectoral fins base and has XV–XVII spines, 19–20 soft rays.
Soft Dorsal fin is weakly pointed.
Anal fin has VIII –IX spines, 15 –17 soft rays.
Soft anal fin is weakly pointed.
Caudal fin is concavely curved but not forked ( emarginate) , crescent shaped,upper and lower lobes are broad and more-or-less rounded.
Pectoral fin is broad and rounded at the end .
Pelvic fins extend slightly beyond anal-fin origin.

Distribution & Habitat

Paretroplus menarambo is found in Lake Sarodrano.
Lake Sarodrano is a typical floodplain lake characteristic of northwestern Madagascar.
The lake is very shallow, extremely turbid, and lined and infested with large clumps of reeds.
Lake Sarodrano lies within the Bemarivo River floodplain between the towns of Mampinkony and Port Berge´ in northwestern Madagascar.
The Bemarivo River is a tributary of the extensive Sofia River drainage system, but the species is not reported from the Sofia.
It is often suspected that it might be present in similar floodplain lakes in the region, which remained poorly surveyed.
Paretroplus menarambo was until very recently considered extinct in the wild; no specimens had been collected since 1997.
Local fishermen reported that P. menarambo once occurred in all of the Bemarivo River floodplain lakes, of which there are many, but that they had not collected specimens in recent years.
Although P. menarambo apparently once occurred in lakes throughout the Bemarivo River drainage basin, up until November of 2006 the species had been collected by researchers only in Lake Sarodrano, located just north of the town of Mampinkony.
According to de Rham and Nourissat (2004), local fishermen confirmed the recent disappearance of P. menarambo from all of the Bemarivo floodplain lakes.
Fortunately, the species still persists in similar habitats within the region, although it appears to have been extirpated from the type locality, Lake Sarodrano.


Body ground coloration ranges from light gray to iridescent grayish green.
There are prominent black spots on flanks, which are arranged in numerous longitudinal series.
These alternate from light gray to grayish-green stripes, lend fish a pinstriped appearance, this gives the fish its common name "pinstripe damba" There is a series of six or seven bars on anterior most part.
These bars are broad, vertical, dark charcoal to blackish bars on flanks and extend from anterior region of trunk to caudal peduncle.
In larger specimens they are often faint.
Lateral barring pattern is very obvious in juveniles, becoming faint and less conspicuous, and frequently barely discernable, in large adults.
There is a black inter orbital stripe present as well as prominent black blotch on cheek below orbit.
Head is gray to iridescent grayish green, and generally somewhat darker dorsally. Snout and lacrimal are gray.
Unpaired fins are gray, dark gray, or charcoal. Margins of dorsal, anal, and caudal fins vivid red, giving fish its Malagasy and scientific name menarambo, meaning ‘‘red tail’’.
Pectoral fins are gray to grayish-green. Pelvic fins are gray to charcoal.
Breeding individuals exhibit intensification of dark vertical bars, but otherwise do not differ in coloration from sexually quiescent individuals.

Conservation Status & Threats

IUCN Red list shows status of Paretroplus menarambo as "Critically Endangered ".
This species is known from the Lake Lake Sarodrano.
Lake Sarodrano lies within the Bemarivo River floodplain between the towns of Mampinkony and Port Berge´ in northwestern Madagascar.
However until recently it was presumed Extinct in the Wild; the last reports of the species had been from Lake Sarodrano.
Despite targeted surveys, no specimens had been collected from this area since. However, recent survey work in this region has resulted in the discovered of a remnant population of this fish in Lake Tseny.
Habitat degradation, the presence of invasive exotic species and overfishing account for its Critically Endangered status. Breeding populations of this species are maintained in captivity.
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.

Tank Size and setup:

The fish can reach 8-10", and will need a large tank about 6X2X2.
A group of 6 can be kept, this will allow them to breed when they reach maturity.
The hardscape should consist of plenty of bogwood and river worn boulders.
These fish like to sift substrate for food so sand is best.
Water Parameters:
They are quiet adaptable but should be kept in hard alkaline water.
All Madagascar cichlids are very intolerant of pollutants so water changes should be consistent and large 30-40 % weekly.


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


There are no sexually dimorphic features apparent.
However unpaired fins of males are slightly longer and pointed then females.
Like most Madagascar cichlids P menarambo are slow growers and will take nearly 2 years to reach maturity.
A group of six is recommended so that pairs may form when fish reach maturity.
The eggs are laid and guarded by both parents.
Eggs hatch within few days and fry are free swimming in about a week.

Species Snapshot

Species Card

Particulars Details
Scientific Name Paretroplus menarambo
Common Name Pin stripe Damba
Genus Paretroplus
Subfamily Etroplinae
Geographical Origin Africa: Madagascar.
Diet Carnivore
Gender Differences Mono morphic
Breeding Substrate Spawner
Temperament Aggressive
Con Specific Temperament Aggressive
Water hardness ph range ; 6.5 to 8
Difficulty Level in Aquariums 4

Morphometric Data

Particulars Details
Total Length(inches) 5.50
Standard Length(inches) 4.80

Measurements as % of Total Length

Particulars Details
Body Depth 57.70 %
Head length 29.30 %
Pre Dorsal length  %
Pre Pectoral length  %
Pre Anal length  %
Pre Pelvic length  %
Caudal Peduncle Depth 16.30 %
Caudal Peduncle Length 7.00 %
Fork length  %
Length of Last Dorsal Fin Spine 15.90 %
Pectoral Fin Length 22.00 %
Pelvic Fin Length 23.80 %

Measurements as % of Head Length

Particulars Details
Head Width 16.00 %
Snout length 43.80 %
Eye diameter 43.80 %
Pre Orbital Length  %
Inter Orbital Width 36.00 %
Pre Orbital Depth  %

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