Melanotaenia pimaensis - photo© Gerald Allen
Pima River Rainbowfish
Melanotaenia pimaensis have a body colour of olive to brown dorsally; silvery blue on sides with narrow orange lines between each scale row. Adults have a prominent blackish midlateral band. May reach a maximum size of 9 cm, but usually less than 6 cm.
Distribution & Habitat
First discovered in 1980 from the Pima River (Oima River on some maps) at the junction with Tua River, Purari River system, Papua New Guinea. In 1991 further collections were made in the Pio River. They were collected from small slow-flowing tributaries in shallow depths of less than one metre. The streams were relatively open and exposed to sunlight, although bordered by rainforest in some areas. Temperature ranged from 19°C in the deeper flowing sections to 25°C in the exposed shallows. A pH of 7.8 was recorded. About half of the specimens were collected from moderately flowing turbid water and the remainder from a crystal-clear backwater with minimal flow. One stream was inhabited by a hardyhead (Craterocephalus) and another rainbowfish, Chilatherina campsi.
Named "pimaensis" in reference to the Pima River type locality. This species was first collected by Brian Parkinson and Gerald Allen in 1980. Live specimens were collected and brought back to Australia, but they failed to become established in the aquarium hobby.
Allen G.R. (1981) Central highland rainbows from Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of two new species (Melanotaeniidae). Tropical Fish Hobbyist 29 (5): 20-33, 68-81.
Allen G.R. (1995) Rainbowfishes in Nature and in the Aquarium. (Tetra-Verlag: Germany.)
Adrian R. Tappin
Updated December, 2008