Search for Lost fishes

Itasy cichlid

Scientific name: Ptychochromoides itasy

Range: Lake Itasy and environs in the central highlands of Madagascar.

When last seen: 2010

Suspected reason for disappearance: A decline in water quality due to human mediated disturbances, specifically unregulated overfishing and the introduction of exotic species into the Lake Itasy basin, led to the swift decline of native fishes throughout the region.

IUCN conservation status: Critically Endangered

Facts: Until it was rediscovered in a pond at a tributary of the Tsiribihina River in late 2010, it was only known from Lake Itasy, where it had last been seen in the 1970s. It was considered extinct until the rediscovery.

Its coloration is jet black and the local name for the fish is ‘trondro mainty’, which translates as ‘blackfish’.

It differs from its close relatives in having a pronounced occipital hump, even in small fishes that aren’t yet sexually mature, and in females.

Size: Around 12cm.

Itasy cichlid - Mitch Smith