Melanotaenia picta - photo© Joël Félix

Melanotaenia picta

Allen, Hadiaty, Unmack & Erdmann, 2015
Painted Rainbowfish

Species Summary
Melanotaenia picta males are a blue-grey colour dorsally on the head, nape and two uppermost, horizontal scale rows of back; cheek and operculum silver to grey with blood-red spot (about one-half pupil size) on the upper part of operculum; iris mostly pale yellow; side of body blue to pale grey with most scales broadly to narrowly edged with golden yellow; large patch of golden yellow on anterior body, just behind and above pectoral fin; golden yellow hues also evident along base of dorsal and caudal fins, and on membranous portion of dorsal and anal fins; fins otherwise blue-greyish except semitranslucent pectoral fins. Freshly collected live fish photographed in an aquarium generally blue-green to blue with metallic reflections and indication of darker blue mid-lateral stripe, most prominent on caudal peduncle where edged below with relatively broad white stripe. Juvenile with brown on back with pale green scale margins; sky-blue midlateral stripe edged above and below with yellow to orange stripe (one scale wide); median fins largely bluish. Male aquarium specimens kept in Germany for several years are largely various shades of blue with darker scale edges (especially bold on ventral side above the anal fin), a black stripe through the eye to just above the pectoral region, midlateral black stripe (about 2 scales wide) on the posterior body/caudal peduncle, and reddish dorsal, anal, and caudal fins.

This species is named picta (Latin: painted) with reference to its beautiful colour pattern.

Distribution & Habitat
Melanotaenia picta is currently known from two locations, both situated in the Mareremar River system of northwestern Kobroor Island and separated by a distance of about 3 km. The habitat for this species is among the most scenic freshwater environments found on the Aru Islands, consisting of small, rainforest brooks with quiet pools interspersed with cascades to 3-4 m high. Water clarity was excellent, offering good conditions for underwater photography. Stream channels were composed of relatively smooth limestone with minimal aquatic vegetation, but abundant shelter for fishes in the form of log snags.

Allen G.R., R.K. Hadiaty, P.J. Unmack and M.V. Erdmann (2015) Rainbowfishes (Melanotaenia: Melanotaeniidae) of the Aru Islands, Indonesia with descriptions of five new species and redescription of M. patoti Weber and M. senckenbergianus Weber. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 21(2): 66-108.

Adrian R. Tappin
June, 2015

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Melanotaenia picta