The Boesman's rainbowfish forms a distinct pair when mating, however, it does not display parental care towards hatched young.
  • Size

    Up to 3.5 in (9 cm)
  • Diet

    Insect larvae and small crustaceans
  • Range

  • Habitat

    Freshwater lakes

Physical Characteristics

  • Maximum length of 3.5 in (9 cm) for males and 2.8 in (7 cm) for females.
  • The body is deep, laterally compressed and oval-shaped.
  • Mature male’s coloration is blue or bluish-grey, sometimes almost black on the head and the front portion of the body, with bright orange-red coloration on the fins and posterior half of the body. Just behind the pectoral fin, there are alternating light and dark vertical bars.
  • Female displays a broad, dark, mid-lateral stripe accompanied by a series of narrow yellow or reddish-orange longitudinal stripes corresponding with each scale row.
  • Females have a shallower body depth and smaller, more rounded fin edges.

Diet / Feeding

  • Benthopelagic feeder.
  • Also feeds on insect larvae and small crustaceans.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in three freshwater lakes in the Ajamaru Lake region of western Papua New Guinea in Indonesia.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Forms distinct pairs when mating.
  • An oviparous, egg-laying species.
  • Does not engage in parental care towards eggs.
  • Eggs are attached to aquatic plants with adhesive threads or tendrils.

Conservation Status

  • “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Melanotaenia boesemani is similar in appearance to Melanotaenia ajamaruensis.
  • M. boesemani is easily differentiated from M. ajamaruensis by the number of soft rays on the second dorsal and anal fins.
  • M. boesemani has 10-14 dorsal rays and 17-23 anal rays compared with 15-19 and 21-27 for M. ajamaruensis.


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