Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Cichlidae
(Cichlids) > Pseudocrenilabrinae
Etymology: Protomelas: Greek, protos = the first + Greek, melas, melanos = black (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; benthopelagic. Tropical; 24°C - 26°C (Ref. 13614); 9°S - 15°S
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 16.7 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4996)
soft rays: 9 - 11. Small to medium-sized with the plesiomorphic melanin pattern. Differs from the other species with this pattern in the higher number of gill-rakers (16-18) and in the greater emphasis of the blotches along the dorsum in the overall pattern. Differs further from P. marginatus in the more posterior position of the deepest part of the body.
Africa: Endemic to the northern and southern parts of Lake Malawi.
Favors a sediment-free rocky habitat, where it stays in midwater about one meter away from the substrate. Is normally found just below the surface, rarely deeper than 5 m. Mostly seen at places where the rocky coast drops steeply. Feeds on invertebrates taken from the water and on insects that fall into the water (Ref. 5595).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Maréchal, C., 1991. Protomelas. p. 387-393. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse, G.G. Teugels and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 4. (Ref. 4996)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01514 (0.00709 - 0.03231), b=2.97 (2.80 - 3.14), based on LWR estimates for this Subfamily-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.4 ±0.41 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (10 of 100) .