Melanotaenia ogilbyi [Timika] - photo© Gerald Allen

Melanotaenia ogilbyi

Weber, 1910
Ogilby's Rainbowfish

Species Summary
Melanotaenia ogilbyi were originally collected from pandanus swamps on the lower Lorentz River in New Guinea. These were taken during the Dutch New Guinea Expedition of 1907. This species belongs to the "Maccullochi Species Group" of rainbowfishes. The main differences between this species and its nearest relatives, M. papuae, M. maccullochi, M. sexlineata and M. mairasi are related to colour pattern. Melanotaenia ogilbyi have a bluish colouration on the sides and back, becoming whitish ventrally. Each horizontal scale row on the body is separated by narrow red stripes with a blackish midlateral stripe. Fins are bluish to translucent, anterior edge of first dorsal fin and outer portions of second dorsal and anal fins dusky in males. Pelvis and pectoral fins translucent. Melanotaenia ogilbyi may reach a maximum size of 10 cm, but usually less than 8 cm.

Melanotaenia ogilbyi - photo© Taoyeah Deng

Distribution & Habitat
Melanotaenia ogilbyi have been found in tributaries of the Lorentz River, and streams in the Timika-Tembagapura region of West Papua. This species was first collected from the Noord-Fluss (North River) by the Dutch explorer Hendrikus Albertus Lorentz during an expedition in 1907. The Noord-Fluss River was later renamed the Lorentz River after Dr. Lorentz. Lorentz participated in three expeditions to Dutch New Guinea, the present-day West Papua (western) portion of the island of New Guinea. The first expedition was in 1903, led by A. Wichmann. Lorentz led expeditions in 1907 and 1909-1910. The Lorentz River is one of the large slow-flowing rivers of the southern lowlands of West Papua, draining into the Arafura Sea near Agats. The river passes through several major wetland habitats including freshwater swamp forest, peat swamp forest and mangrove forest. In 1995 additional specimens were collected by Gerald Allen in the vicinity of Timika. Then in 2011, live specimens were collected from the Wataikwa River by Hans-Georg Evers and introduced to the aquarium hobby. Melanotaenia ogilbyi are often found with Melanotaenia goldiei, Pseudomugil novaeguineae and Pseudomugil ivantsoffi.

Melanotaenia ogilbyi - photo© Jui-Pin Paul Wu

Allen G.R. (1991) Field guide to the freshwater fishes of New Guinea. Christensen Research Institute, Madang, Papua New Guinea.

Evers H. (2011) In pursuit of the disappearing Ogilby's Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia ogilbyi. Amazonas 1(3): 82-85. [English version]

Weber M. (1910) Neue Fische aus Niederländisch Süd-Neu-Guinea. Notes from the Leyden Museum 32: 225-240.

Adrian R. Tappin
Updated April, 2013

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Melanotaenia ogilbyi