Kiunga bleheri - photo© Mark Allen

Kiunga bleheri

Allen, 2004
Bleher's Blue Eye

Species Summary
Gerald Allen described this species in 2004. On first glance their general appearance looks similar to Kiunga ballochi. However, the morphological differences, nevertheless, are also obvious. It differs from Kiunga ballochi, also from the Kiunga area, on the basis of its much shorter second dorsal and anal fins, significant modal difference in the number of second dorsal fin rays, 6 versus 5 transverse scale rows on the body, and in usually having most of the second dorsal and anal fin rays unbranched. Body colour is general semi-transparent with the second dorsal fin faintly yellowish on outer portion with irregular black margin. Maximum size about 3.0 cm SL.

Distribution & Habitat
Kiunga bleheri is currently only known from a few small creeks crossed by the Kiunga-Konkonda Road, approximately 10-12 km west of Kiunga, in the Fly River system. They were reportedly first collected by Heiko Bleher in 1991 from Tare Creek, about 12 kilometres north of Kiunga on Konkonda Road, Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately on that occasion the live specimens were lost by the airline. On a second attempt in 1993 he caught just three individuals and they didn't breed. Then in 2003 he managed to catch a larger number in the same stream and these were successfully transported to Europe. Additional specimens were also collected in 2003 and are now available in the aquarium hobby. They were collected in clear, shallow rainforest streams. Water parameters recorded in 2003 were: pH 5.9; conductivity 29 µS/cm; temperature 27°C. However, the full extent of their distribution range is unknown.

This species was also collected by Charles Nishihira in 1994 while searching for Kiunga ballochi. It was again collected in 2007 by Mark Allen and Philip Atio.

Allen G.R. (2004) Kiunga bleheri, a new Blue-Eye (Pisces: Pseudomugilidae) from fresh waters of Papua New Guinea, aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 8 (2): 79-85.

Allen G.R., A.W. Storey and M. Yarrao (2008) Freshwater Fishes of the Fly River, Papua New Guinea. Ok Tedi Mining, Tabubil, PNG.

Adrian R. Tappin
August, 2015

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Kiunga bleheri