Sunday,26 September 2021, 6 : 11 AM

Paretroplus petiti

P petiti
Paretroplus petiti
Image Credit: John sparks


Paretroplus petiti is a small fish in its genus. It has a standard length of 3.5" and total length of 5.0".
It is has not been found since the time it was described by Pellegrin in 1929.
All descriptions are based on a single specimen preserved in Formalin.


(Click for details of Cichlid taxonomy)

Paretroplus petiti was first described by Pellegrin in 1929.
The genus Paretroplus is further divided several groups called clades.
P petiti belongs to clade consisting of fish which are deep-bodied and more or less disk-shaped members of Paretroplus.
Other members of this clade are P. dambabe, P. maculatus, P. maromandia, P. menarambo, 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 is named in honor of G. Petit who collected the holotype that was described by Pellegrin.


This fish is described on the basis of a single specimen collected by G. petiti and subsequently described by Pellegrin in 1929.
It has not been collected since then, also it is often confused with P dambabe.
Paretroplus petiti is a deep bodied, laterally compressed member of its clade.
It has a standard length of 3.5" and a body depth of 58 % of SL.

Head shape is relatively blunt and steeply sloping in lateral view.
Head length is 30.7% of SL and width is 17.6 % of SL.
Snout is mildly convex.
Snout length is 41.3 % of Head length.

Predorsal profile is mostly straight and only slightly rounded.
Caudal peduncle is short, deep, and laterally compressed.
Total vertebral count is 33, 15 vertebra on body (pre caudal) and 18 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 were damaged in the specimen and could not be described.
Teeth in upper jaw number 6-78 on each side, and total 13.
Teeth in lower jaw could not be counted due to damage.
Like all cichlids, P. petiti 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 39 scales.
Chest scales are markedly reduced in size and embedded.
Scales along ventral midline are smallest.
There are 5-6 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 XVIII spines, 18 soft rays.
Soft Dorsal fin is weakly pointed.
Anal fin has IX spines, 14 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.

Distribution & Habitat

Paretroplus petiti is restricted to western drainage of Madagascar.
However there is confusion regarding type locality. the type specimen was collected from Maintimaso River, a tributary of the westward flowing Betsiboka River, near the town of Maintimaso.
Many specimens attributed to this species were reassigned to P dambabe.

Habitat :
Paretroplus petiti was collected from western drainage Madagascar. However it was never collected subsequently.


The only known specimen is a formalin fixed specimen, so live colour are not known.
The colour's of preserved specimen are as follows.
Base body coloration is dark golden brown.
There are alternating dark/dark brown and light/golden brown horizontal striping on flanks .
Very faint horizontal barring pattern is also evident on flanks, but hardly noticeable.
There are no additional distinguishing markings present on flanks.
Snout and inter orbital region is dark grayish brown. rest of head region is more or less a uniform dark brown.
Unpaired fins are golden brown to grayish brown. Spiny dorsal fin has black pigment along distal margin.
Pectoral fins are light golden brown.
Pelvic fins are grayish brown and golden brown.

Conservation Status & Threats

IUCN Red list shows status of Paretroplus petiti as "Data deficient ".
Paretroplus petiti previously was listed as Critically Endangered.
Taxonomic research on this species and P. dambabe resulted in the status of P. petiti being downgraded to Data Deficient for now.
This species is known only from the holotype, a juvenile specimen.
Historically, the nomen P. petiti has been erroneously applied to the recently described P. dambabe, a very different species.
Attempts to collect additional material of P. petiti in 2002 and 2003 were unsuccessful due to uncertainty regarding the type locality.
Pending resolution of these difficulties this species is best classified as Data Deficient.

Tank Size and setup:

There is no record of this fish being kept in captivity.


Based on examination of a radiograph of the holotype, the gut was packed with crushed shells, indicating that P. petiti is primarily a molluscivore


Species Snapshot

Species Card

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

Morphometric Data

Particulars Details
Total Length(inches) 5.00
Standard Length(inches) 3.50

Measurements as % of Total Length

Particulars Details
Body Depth 57.90 %
Head length 30.70 %
Pre Dorsal length  %
Pre Pectoral length  %
Pre Anal length  %
Pre Pelvic length  %
Caudal Peduncle Depth 17.20 %
Caudal Peduncle Length 6.90 %
Fork length  %
Length of Last Dorsal Fin Spine 16.80 %
Pectoral Fin Length 23.30 %
Pelvic Fin Length 24.00 %

Measurements as % of Head Length

Particulars Details
Head Width 17.60 %
Snout length 41.30 %
Eye diameter 34.30 %
Pre Orbital Length  %
Inter Orbital Width 36.60 %
Pre Orbital Depth  %

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