Hemigrammopetersius barnardi, an alestiid characin
found in Lake Malawi; illustration from Skelton (1993), used by permission
of P.H. Skelton
"Barnard's robber," Hemigrammopetersius barnardi, is a small, poorly known characin reaching only 7 cm (2¾ inches) standard length. It was first reported from near Beira, Mozambique, in 1936, and was added to the reported fauna of Lake Malawi only a few years ago. Its range includes the lower Zambezi River, the Pungwe and Buzi River systems, the upper Shiré River, the Rovuma and Rufiji Rivers, and Lakes Malawi, Chilwa, and Chiuta (Skelton, 1993; FishBase).

It is reported to swim in shoals in the vegetation at the edges of rivers and lakes. Its diet consists of insects and other small invertebrates.

The coloration in life is "olive brown with silvery and reddish irridescence [spelling sic], dusky along the back and pale or buff ventrally. There is a dark lateral stripe from the upper gill opening to the caudal base" (Jubb, 1967: 81).

H. barnardi has a very short lateral line, with tubules in only the first 9 or 10 of the 30-31 scale rows along the body. This easily distinguishes it from small individuals of Brycinus imberi, which has a complete lateral line of some 23-29 scales with tubules. The coloration also differs considerably.

The above painting by Dave Voorvelt is copyright © by the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (formerly known as the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology). It is reproduced here from Skelton (1993) with the kind permission of Prof. P.H. Skelton.

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The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa:  MalawiCichlids.com

Last Update: 17 June 2001
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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