Callopanchax occidentalis (Clausen 1966)

Call.occidentalis. Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Meaning of Name

'West' -referring to West Africa.

First Description

Aphyosemion occidentale Clausen, H. S. 1966
Definition of a new cyprinodont genus and description of a 'new'but well-known West African cyprinodont, with a clarification of the terms 'sjöstedti', Aphyosemion sjöstedti (Lönnberg), and Aphyosemion coeruleum (Boulenger).

Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines v. 74 (pts 3-4): 331-341.


8 cm (Scheel ROTOW2 - 7cm)

  • D=20·2, A=18·8, ll= 34·3 (Scheel 1990) Determined from 21 males
  • D=19·1, A=18·1, ll=33·9 (Scheel 1990) Determined from 17 females
  • D=20, A=18, D/A= -2, ll=34

n=23 A=46



  • 'Red Fundulus' Gellner 1911
  • 'Fundulus Syostedti?' Gellner 1911
  • Aphyosemion occidentale Clausen 1966
  • Roloffia occidentalis (Clausen 1966)
  • Blama (Sierra Leone)
  • Bom ( SLCD 84 / 19 )
  • Brama School - SL03/7
  • Faliaba (Sierra Leone)
  • Gbahama
  • Kabak
  • Kasewe (Sierra Leone)
  • Kenema
  • Koke
  • Kumrabai (An umlout on the 'i' ( ï ) has been seen which should be disregarded).(SLCD 84/24).
  • Largo (2 colour forms, Red & Blue)
  • Ma Barie (Sierra Leone) SL93/39
  • Mabeimah (Sierra Leone)
  • Magbenta (Sierra Leone) & SL89 & SL03/19
  • Magbundus Swamp - SLCD 84 / 6
  • Makeni (Sierra Leone)
  • Makuri
  • Malai (Sierra Leone) & SL03/11
  • Mangata
  • Mangata - GM 97/3
  • Matca (Sierra Leone)
  • Mogbomoh Village, Saspoor Water - SL99/12
  • Moyamba
  • Ngabu (Sierra Leone) SL89
  • Romeni (Rommi could be a coruption)(Sierra Leone) SL89
  • Rowala - SL03/12
  • Sherboro Island (Sierra Leone)
  • Sowoja River (Sierra Leone)
  • Teme Yellah (Sierra Leone) & SL89
  • Tienii (Liberia)
  • Waanje River - SL89

Largo - Red. Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Largo - Blue. Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Moyamba. Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Romeni. Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Mangata GM 97 / 3
Photo courtesy of Tony Terceira

Form imported into the BKA in the '70's.
BKA photo.

Form being maintained in the USA in the summer of 2003. Just labelled 'Aquarium Strain'.
Photo courtesy of Tony Terceira

Teme Yellah
Photo courtesy of Tony Terceira

SLCD 84/24 Kumrabai (probably huwaldi)
Photo courtesy of Christian Cauvet.

Photo courtesy of André Paes de Almeida

Kabak male. Photo courtesy of Vasco Gogov.

Kabak female. Photo courtesy of Vasco Gogov.

No location. Taken at the 2004 BKA convention.

Blama (Type Locality) - Collected by Clausen in 1966. Collected by Roloff in 1962.
Faliaba - Collected by Busch & Hellner in 1989 (SL 89 code).
Kasewe - Collected by Schoitz in 1963. Collected by Lamboj et al in 1984.
Mabaimah - Collected by Busch & Wiese in 1993 (SL 93 code).
Ma Barie - Collected by Busch & Wiese in 1993 (SL 93 code).
Magbenta - Collected by Roloff in 1962. Collected by Busch & Hellner in 1989 (SL 89 code).
Magbundus Swamp - Collected by Christian Cauvet & Jérôme Detienne, KCF in November 1984.
Makeni - Collected by Schoitz in 1963.
Malai - Collected by Busch & Wiese in 1993 (SL 93 code).
Matca - Collected by persons unknown in 1915.
Ngabu - Collected by Busch & Hellner in 1989 (SL 89 code). Collected by Busch & Wiese in 1993 (SL 93 code).
Romeni - Collected by Busch & Hellner in 1989 (SL 89 code).
Sherboro Island - Collected by Grote in 1910.
Sowoja River - Collected by Busch & Hellner in 1989 (SL 89 code).
Teme Yellah - Collected by Busch & Hellner in 1989 (SL 89 code).
Tienii - Collected by Etzel in 1978.

Type Locality

Blama, Sierra Leone.


Central & eastern Sierra Leone & extreme northwest Liberia. Replaced westerly by toddi & easterly by monroviae.



Distinguishing Characteristics  
Colour/Pattern Variability  

First reports of this species come from 1909 when, on the 9th of June Grote, a German aquarist from Hamburg whilst serving on a German ship collected fish from Sherboro Island off the coast of Sierra Leone & south of Freetown. Some of these fish were brought alive back to Hamburg. Arnold reports being offered some colourful Fundulus by an unknown individual which were collected on Sherboro Island. The aquarium society which Grote belonged to reported that they had been shown this fish on the 26th of October 1909.

Arnold saw these fish at Memmler's house in November 1909 & these were shown at an aquarium exhibition in Hamburg in December 1909. Memmler's original fish died in February 1910 & these were preserved & sent to Arnold. Around 1910, Arnold sent these to Boulenger in London who identified them as sjoestedti.

In January 1911 more fish were imported. Gellner described & pictured them as 'Red Fundulus' or 'Fundulus Syostedtie?' He stated that this material came from the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Although his description of the fish was not very complete it was clearly identifiable with the earlier import from Sherboro Island. A month later Arnold used these fish to describe & figure sjoestedti. Rachow also described & illustrated this fish as sjoestedti in 1911. The fish used by Mayer to photograph were said to have been collected at Axim, Gold Coast.
Gellner was probably first to discover the annual nature of reproduction.

Boulenger, in 1915, redescribed Löennberg's sjoestedti but the preserved material he partly used in this redescription were probably not true sjoestedti but occidentale or batesii. Still in 1915, Boulenger referred to occidentale as sjoestedti in a collection of fish collected by Thomas in 1913 from Matca, Sierra Leone. The name coeruleum was used widely for these fish from 1915.

1962, collected by Roloff at Magbenta, near Rokel, Sierra Leone & Blama, east, Sierra Leone.

Collected by Schiötz in 1963 at Kasewi, Sierra Leone.

Clausen, in 1966, described Aphyosemion occidentale using the preserved specimens collected by Grote in 1909.

In 1969 Roloff rediscovered occidentale at Magbenta, near Rokel, central Sierra Leone & also near Blama situated in the east of Sierra Leone. Some of these two populations were given to Scheel for study. Schiötz also collected them at Kasewe & Makeni, central Sierra Leone.

Breeding Notes

Gellner, in 1911, reported using sand as a substrate & showed that eggs would be buried about 1 cm deep. Also noted was eggs incubated at 23°C showed no development after 8 weeks. Scheel's experiments in ROTOW 1 showed that eggs layed in 'fine & dirty mud' & kept under anaerobic conditions for 'some weeks', later to be washed & placed in clean, slightly acid water with a zero hardness in open containers maintained at 22-23°C gave the following data.

Incubation Period
Hatch Rate
58 days
62 days
67 days
70 days
71 days
73 days
75 days
78 days
83 days
100 days

Gellner in 1911 reported a pair layed eggs 1 cm deep in sand. Eggs were observed to show no development at 8 weeks. The reference in ROTOW2 doesn't say if these were stored in water or not but they probably were. Temperature maintained at was 23°C.

Scheel again in ROTOW2 reported maintaining eggs for 273 days in slightly moist peat & hatched fully viable fry. Other experiments were undertaken & he determined that diapause 1 lasted for around 50 days.

A breeding report appeared in BKA newsletter No.79, March 1972 by Bob Schwiegerath. Bob had no success in spawning them in mops & used a tray of 'glass beads' as a receptacle for the eggs. He harvested about 80 eggs every 3 days by using this method. Eggs were placed in a tray with water from the parents tank with a little Acriflavine. Eggs which turned white were removed & those still healthy after 3 days were placed in preboiled peat moss. Some of these eggs were left in water to incubate until hatching. This took almost 7 months. A month before this some micro worm was added to the water. At this stage little or no embryonation was observed. They were reported to 'suddenly embryonate'. Newly hatched fry were weak on hatching & were transferred to a 10 gallon tank with a little salt added.
The dry stored eggs became too dry through poor quality of bags used & only about 15% of the eggs hatched. A second wetting gave a better hatch.
Eggs of this sp. were observed to be tolerant of light.

Dick Aylott in BKA newsletter No.198, February 1982 found a bag of peat in his fish house which was 12 months past its hatching date & dry as dust. He wet them & reported a good hatch.
He also tried eggs in peat which was 'wetter than it should have been' incubated for 6 weeks. The majority of the fry were belly sliders.

Tony Pinto in BKA newsletter No.237, May 1985 found that the best temperature to maintain them was 72-75°F as at higher temperatures the fish showed signs of aging at 6 months. The fish were tolerant of temperature in the low 60°'s but were more susceptible to velvet & other infections.
A natural breeding setup was tried but it was found that the fish could be aggressive towards each other & few eggs were found as they were being eaten by the parents.
Tony used a one inch layer of peat on the tank base for breeding, water temperature 76°F, pH 7, DH 1-2. A pair are capable of layer 50-70 eggs before being spawned out & should be seperated at this stage with the peat being removed & dried to a just moist state before being stored. Storage temperature should be around 78-80°F & eggs should be ready to hatch in 4-5 months. It was noticed that around 50% of the eggs disintegrated in the first 2 months of storage & the higher storage temperature was thought to be the reason.
Fry on hatching were large & capable of taking newly hatched brine shrimp & microworm. Growth is rapid & at around 4 weeks males will start to show through with a golden colouration just behind the gill covers. Females were removed to grow on in another tank as males can be aggressive.

Diameter of Egg 1·4 - 1·5 mm, clear & golden in colour.

This is a very old species & may represent an ancient form from which Aphyosemion & other genera may have evolved.