Are there several types of Labidochromis caeruleus?

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Labidochromis caeruleus is one of the most popular African cichlids in the hobby, but is there more than one form? Professor George Turner explains.

There are several colour forms of Labidochromis caeruleus. All seem to be geographic races, so only one colour form is found at any stretch of shoreline.

In most places they are white. Sometimes, they have a dark band in the dorsal fin. The lovely bright yellow form usually seen in the trade has a restricted distribution in the wild. There is also a strange-looking form that is white with yellow on the back.

All these forms will probably interbreed, but I have no idea what the offspring would look like!

In the fourth edition of Malawi Cichlids in their Natural Habitat, Ad Konings also includes in this species some ‘BB’ forms with blue males with black bars and brownish females.

I am a bit sceptical as they look more like a form of Labidochromis chisumulae to me, but I have an open mind!

This article was first published in the December 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.