New Petrotilapia named

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Scientists have described a new species of Petrotilapia cichlid from Lake Malawi in East Africa.

Ruffing, Lambert and Stauffer discovered the new cichlid in Nkhata Bay and have named the species Petrotilapia microgalana.

Male Petrotilapia microgalana are bright blue in colour, while females have beige to white flanks with 5-7 faint vertical brown bars. Juveniles of both sexes are bright yellow in colour.

The new species is found alongside Petrotilapia tridentiger and Petrotilapia genalutea, but the fish have different habitat preferences and mate assortatively.

The authors wrote: "The bright blue color of the males distinguishes it from males of Petrotilapia genalutea Marsh, which have a dull blue ground color and orange flanks, and males of Petrotilapia nigra Marsh, which are predominately black with 7-10 gray/brown bars.

"A plot of the sheared second principal components of the morphometric data and the first principal components of the meristic data further support that these latter three species are distinct."

For more information see the paper: Ruffing, R.A., A. Lambert, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr (2006) - Description of a new species of Petrotilapia (Teleostei: Cichlidae), from Lake Malawi, Africa. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 119 (4): 534-539.