Blackbanded Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia nigrans (Richardson 1843)


Other Names: Black Striped Rainbow Fish, Black-banded Jewelfish, Black-banded Jewel-fish, Black-banded Rainbow Fish, Black-banded Rainbowfish, Black-striped Rainbowfish, Common Freshwater Sunfish, Mauve Rainbow-fish, Spotted Sunfish, Yalgurnda

A Blackbanded Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia nigrans, from George Creek, south of Darwin, Northern Territory. Source: Dave Wilson / http://www.aquagreen.com.au/. License: All rights reserved

Summary:

A slender bluish-lavender rainbowfish with a very distinctive dark midlateral stripe, a narrow red stripe on the belly to the front part of the tail, a bright reddish spot on the gill cover and pale orange pectoral fins.

Blackbanded Rainbowfish in a tributary of the South Alligator River in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory.


Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2020, Melanotaenia nigrans in Fishes of Australia, accessed 07 Aug 2020, http://136.154.202.208/home/species/4499

Blackbanded Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia nigrans (Richardson 1843)

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to northern Australia and known from three isolated populations: Napier Broome Bay in the eastern Kimberly,  Western Australia, coastal streams of the Northenr Territory from the Daly River eastwards across Arnhem Land to Groote Eylandt, and the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, including some Torres Strait islands. 

Considered locally common in habitats ranging from rainforest streams, lagoons, small swampy creeks, and backwaters and slow-flowing areas of larger rivers and streams. Although the species is usually found within 40 km of the ocean, it has been recorded up to 130 km inland.

Features

Dorsal fin IV-VI; I, 8-11; Anal fin I, 15-16; Pectoral fin 12-14; Pelvic fin I, 5.
 
Body laterally compressed, relatively deep, greatest body depth (adults > 50 mm SL): males 25.0-33.3,females 25.0-28.0; head length 24.3-27.1; snout length 7.1-8.3; eye diameter 7.2-10.5; jaw teeth conical, vomer with a solid band of well-developed teeth; teeth present on palatines; lateral line absent.

Scales cycloid to slightly crenulate with well-developed radii; large, horizontal scale rows 10-12; vertical scale rows 33 to 35.

Two separate dorsal fins, 1st originating just forward of the origin of the anal fin; anal fin long based; caudal fin forked.

Size

To 8.5 cm SL, commonly to 6cm.

Colour

Grey-brown with bluish tinges dorsally, whitish ventrally with a prominent, broad black mid-lateral stripe extending though the eyes and a pinkish spot on opercle. During the breeding period males may have a bright yellow caudal fin, orange to mauve on the top of the head and the spot on the opercle intensifies. Mature males generally have a reddish second dorsal fin and black margins on the anal fin.

Feeding

Feeds on aquatic and terrestrial insects, and filamentous green algae.

Biology

Spawning occurs year-round in favourable conditions, with a peak during the wet season (December-March). throughout the year. Females spawn 50-70 adhesive eggs onto aquatic vegetation. The eggs are spherical with adhesive filaments.

Larvae hatch after around 6-7 days and are well developed with a reduced yolk sac and fully formed mouth and pectoral fins. Feeding commences within 24 hours of hatching.

Remarks

Yalgurnda was the indigenous name for this species on the Port Essington area when the type specimens were collected (Richardson 1843).

Etymology

The specific name nigrans (= black, darkly coloured) in reference to the black midlateral stripe of this species.

Species Citation

Atherina nigrans Richardson, 1843, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 1 11(69): 180. Type locality: Port Essington, Northern Territory.

Author

Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2020

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Australian Faunal Directory

Catalog of Fishes

Blackbanded Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia nigrans (Richardson 1843)

References


Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications pp. 1–240

Allen, G.R. & Cross, N.J. 1982. Rainbowfishes of Australia and Papua-New Guinea.  New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 142 pp.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Axelrod, H.R., W.E. Burgess, N. Pronek, & J.G. Walls. 1985. Dr. Axelrod's atlas of freshwater aquarium fishes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Bishop K.A., S.A. Allen, D.A. Pollard & M.G. Cook. 2001. Ecological studies on the freshwater fishes of the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory: Autecology. Supervising Scientist Report 145, Supervising Scientist, Darwin.

Brown, C. & Bibost, A.-L.. 2014. Laterality is linked to personality in the black-lined rainbowfish, Melanotaenia nigrans. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68: 999–1005 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-014-1712-0

Brown, C., Unmack, P. & Brooks, S. 2019. Melanotaenia nigrans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T122905960A123382246. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T122905960A123382246.en. Downloaded on 10 June 2020.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1873. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 5. Notes on fishes from north Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 2: 83-97 (described as Zantecla pusilla)

Crowley L.E.L.M. & Ivantsoff, W. 1982. Reproduction and early stages of development in two species of Australian rainbowfishes Melanotaenia nigrans (Richardson) and Melanotaenia splendida inornata (Castelnau). Australian Zoology 21(1): 85-95.

Gill, T.N. 1862. Notice of a collection of the fishes of California presented to the Smithsonian Institution by Mr. Samuel Hubbard. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 14: 274-282

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes.  Redcliffe : E.M. Grant Pty. Limited 9th Edn  880 pp.

Herbert B.W., J.A. Peeters, P.A. Graham & A.E. Hogan. 1995. Freshwater Fish and Aquatic Habitat Survey of Cape York Peninsula. (Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy) Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.

Lake, J.S. 1978. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Melbourne : Thomas Nelson 160 pp. 140 figs.

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. 1990. Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1.  Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp.

Leggett, R. & Merrick, J.R. 1987. Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums.  Artarmon : J.R. Merrick Publications 241 pp.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp.

Morgan, D.L., Allen, G.R., Pusey, B.J. & Burrows, D.W. 2011. A review of the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Zootaxa 2816: 1-64 http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.2816.1.1

Morgan D., M. Sefton, D. Cheinmora, G. Charles & P. Nulgit. 2005. Fishes of the King Edward and Carson Rivers, Kawii manya Mararran - nûngka, with the Belaa and Ngarinyin names for the fish. Report to Land and Water Australia.

Pusey, B.J., Burrows, D.W., Kennard, M.J., Perna, C.N., Unmack. P.J., Allsop, Q. & Hammer, M.P. 2017. Freshwater fishes of northern Australia. Zootaxa 4253(1): 1-104 http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4253.1.1

Richardson, J. 1843. Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 1 11(69): 169-182. See ref at BHL

Steindachner, F. 1867. Ichthyologische Notizen (6).1. Über eine Sammlung von Fischen von Cap York in Australien. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 56(1): 307-320 (as Nematocentris nigricans)

Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089

Whitehead, P.J.P., Nelson, G.J. & Wongratana, T. 1988. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 7. Clupeoid fishes of the world (Suborder Clupeoidei). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the herrings, sardines, pilchards, sprats, shads, anchovies and wolf-herrings. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(7/2): 305-579. Rome: FAO.

Whitley, G.P. 1960. Fresh water fishes of Australia. 18. Finchat February: 12-13, 25

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37245010

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Fishing:Popular aquarium fish

Habitat:Freshwater

Max Size:8.5 cm SL

Native:Endemic

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