Monday,24 February 2020, 10 : 54 PM

Ptychochromis makira

P makira
Ptychochromis makira
Image Credit: Melanie L.J. Stassiny


Ptychochromis makira is a medium sized fish which was once common is now rarely seen.
It is known only from its type series which was collected from Antainambalana River just north of Maroansetra in northeastern Madagascar.


(Click for details of Cichlid taxonomy)

Ptychochromis makira was first described by Stiassny & Sparks , in 2006.
The genus Ptychochromis was described by Steindachner in 1880.
The species is named after the region it was first collected.


Ptychochromis makira reaches a length of about 5.2 " (SL).
Body is extremely deep bodied and laterally compressed, it has a body depth of 48.9 % of Standard Length.
Lateral snout outline is straight to slightly curved.
Predorsal head profile is moderately convex from mid of eyes to dorsal-fin origin.
Dorsal(Upper) body profile is strongly curved specially in holotype.
Ventral(lower) body profile moderately convex in paratype and relatively straight in holotype.
Caudal peduncle is short, deep, and laterally compressed.
Dorsal-fin origin is located slightly anterior to vertical through pectoral-fin insertion.
Pelvic-fin origin is located well posterior to vertical through pectoral-fin insertion.
Total vertebral count is 26 or 27, with 13 vertrebra located on body and 13-14 located on caudal region.

Lower and upper jaws are similar (isognathous).
Teeth in jaws are bilaterally symmetrical and bicuspid, with crowns some what expanded distally and slightly recurved. Outer row teeth of both jaws are enlarged and graded in size laterally.
Like all cichlids, P. makira has pharyngeal teeth.
Upper and lower pharyngeal tooth plates are well developed with strong teeth.

Body is covered with large, regularly imbricate, weakly ctenoid scales from about level of midorbit to proximal portion of caudal fin.
Scales above upper lateral line to about level of origin of soft dorsal fin are cycloid.
Scales on flanks becoming increasingly ctenoid posteriorly, but at most only weakly so.
Scales on nape and head regionare cycloid.
There are four or five rows of cycloid scales on cheek.
Scales on opercle and subopercle missing in all specimens.
Anterior chest scales are reduced in size and embedded.
Scales on chest are weakly ctenoid, except anteriorly where they are cycloid.
Scales on belly are cycloid.
Snout, and region near eyes does not have any scales.
Scales on caudal fin reduced in size.

Lateral line has 33 scales.
There are five scales in diagonal from lateral line to dorsal-fin origin.
There are five scale rows between bases of pectoral and pelvic fins.
No scale rows present along dorsal- and anal-fin bases.

Dorsal fin is placed vertically above pectoral fin base, slightly anterior and has XII spines, 12 soft rays.
Anal fin has III spines and eight or nine soft rays. First anal spine is very short, second and third spines elongate and of similar length.
Pelvic fins are short, and extend to origin of anal fin.

Distribution & Habitat

Ptychochromis makira is known only from the type series, which was collected in the Antainambalana River just north of Maroansetra in northeastern Madagascar.
The southern range limit of P. makira is not known with certainty, but it is possible that P. makira is conspecific with populations of similarly pigmented Ptychochromis.
The fish has been reported by local fishermen to occur as far south as the coastal towns of Manompana and Mananara.


Colour in live specimens is not known.
The colour is preserved specimens is as below:
Ground coloration is pale creamy white to yellow.
There are four black V-shaped bands present on flanks(sides), which extend ventrally (downwards) to lateral midline.
Body is much lighter coloured on the lower side and is essentially uniform pale creamy yellow.

Fins are pale yellow to grayish; fin rays are dark gray to black. The rear side of fins is blackish excluding pectorals.
Pectoral fin are olive in colour proximally and mostly hyaline(semi transparent )distally.
The area near eyes , snout, and lachrymal is grayish-green.
Lips are light olive.
Scales on chest and ventral flanks, primarily rostral of anal-fin origin are brown along exposed margins.

Conservation Status & Threats

The "IUCN Red List of Threatned species " does not list this fish.
According to local fishermen it was once common through the region, but is now rarely seen.
There are now little original riparian vegetation remains in the lower reaches of the Antainambalana River basin.
Fishing pressure is high in the region surrounding Maroansetra and habitat degradation has been widespread throughout the Antainambalana basin.
The main impacts thought to have caused the decline of this species are deforestation leading to loss of habitat through increased sedimentation, competition from introduced tilapias and overfishing.

Species Snapshot

Species Card

Particulars Details
Scientific Name Ptychochromis makira
Common Name
Genus Ptychochromis
Subfamily Ptychochrominae
Geographical Origin Africa: Madagascar.
Gender Differences
Con Specific Temperament
Water hardness
Difficulty Level in Aquariums

Morphometric Data

Particulars Details
Total Length(inches)
Standard Length(inches) 5.80

Measurements as % of Total Length

Particulars Details
Body Depth 48.90 %
Head length 32.00 %
Pre Dorsal length 39.80 %
Pre Pectoral length  %
Pre Anal length 75.10 %
Pre Pelvic length 41.70 %
Caudal Peduncle Depth 18.10 %
Caudal Peduncle Length 14.00 %
Fork length  %
Length of Last Dorsal Fin Spine  %
Pectoral Fin Length 32.70 %
Pelvic Fin Length 36.30 %

Measurements as % of Head Length

Particulars Details
Head Width 15.40 %
Snout length 42.70 %
Eye diameter 25.60 %
Pre Orbital Length 25.60 %
Inter Orbital Width 33.80 %
Pre Orbital Depth 25.60 %

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