This colorful minnow, a denizen of streams flowing into the west shore of Lake Malawi and tributaries of the Shiré River, has been called the "Dwarf sanjika." [It attains a standard length (without caudal fin) of only 11 cm (4.3 inches), compared to 30 cm (12 inches) in the true sanjika, O. microcephalum, of Lake Malawi.] It was suspected of being a new species at least as early as 1980. In that year, I saw a memo from Denis Tweddle at the Nkhata Bay (Malawi) fisheries station discussing it as such under the provisional name of Opsaridium cf. ubangense and noting the indigenous name, "Kabyabya." It is only recently, however, that this attractive species was given a scientific name, Opsaridium tweddleorum (for Denis and Sharon Tweddle), by Skelton (1996).
In his book, Skelton (1993: 121) reported that the dwarf sanjika "[i]nhabits swift-flowing streams in rocky reaches over clean sand. Feeds on insects and other invertebrates in the drift. Breeds in summer."
The few localities where this species has been collected are detailed in FishBase.
The above color painting by Dave Voorvelt is copyright © by the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (formerly known as the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology). It is reproduced here from Skelton (1993) with the kind permission of Prof. P.H. Skelton.
|Last Update: 13 October 2000
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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