Nimbapanchax petersi (Sauvage 1882)

Banco Park
Photo: Courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Meaning of Name

After Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Peters, a Prussian ichthyologist.

First Description

Sauvage H.M.E. 1882.

Notice sur les poissons du territoire d'Assinie (Cote d'Or)(Mission scientifique de M.Chaper).

Bulletin de la Société Zoologique de France 7: p 324-325, plate 5, figure 6.


5.5 cm (Boulenger 1915)

  • D = 7, A = 14, ll = 32 (Sauvage 1882)
  • D = 9-10, A = 14-15, ll = 30-32 (Boulenger 1915)
  • D = 8-11, A = 15-16, ll = 29-32 (Radda & Pürzl 1987)
  • D=10-12 (average 10.5), A= 14-16 (average 15.4), D/A=7-8 (average 7.5), ll=28-30 (average 29.1) Sonnenberg & Busch 2009

Boulenger in 'Catalogue of Freshwater Fishes in the British Museum (Natural History)' states that the lateral line pits were 'feebly marked'. Also, Pellegrin advised Boulenger that the number of dorsal rays were incorrectly given by Sauvage in the original description.


n = 20, A = 28 (Scheel 1974)





  • Haplochilus petersi Sauvage 1882
  • Haplochilus petersii Garman 1895
  • Epiplatys sexfasciatus petersii Keilhack 1910
  • Haplochilus petersii Boulenger 1915
  • Panchax petersii Ahl 1924
  • Aphyosemion petersi Rachow 1924
  • Aphyosemion petersii Myers 1924
  • Epiplatys petersii Myers 1933
  • Roloffia petersii Clausen 1967
  • Roloffia petersi Tirbak 1970
  • Aphyosemion (Callopanchax) petersi Radda 1970
  • Aphyosemion pulchripinnis Zuschlag 1960 (nomen nudum)
  • Archiaphyosemion petersi (Sauvage 1882)
  • Banco National Park (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) - This was distributed in the BKA as Roloffia sp. Banco Park.
  • Bokitsa Mine (Ghana)
  • Couacrou (now Kouakoukrou) (Ivory Coast)
  • Djigbe Forest
  • Dunkwa (Ghana)
  • Misahoke (Togo)
  • Toupa Falls (southeastern Ivory Coast)

Form known to have been in the BKA in the '70's. BKA photo

Banco Park. I laboured long to get a decent shot of this Banco park population but he just would not sit still. This was as good as I got at the 2004 SKS convention.

Banco Park. Dick Cox had better results.

Nimbapanchax petersi Awaso. Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

An AKA import to the 2003 BKA convention.

Couacrou (Kouakoukrou) - See next subheading for type locality information. Collected by Sauvage in 1882.

Djigbe Forest - Collected by Gras in 1961.

Dunkwa - Collected by Spurell in (or before) 1882.

Misahoke - Collected by Keilhack in 1910.

Type Locality

Boulenger in 'Catalogue of Freshwater Fishes in the British Museum (Natural History)' quotes type specimens 1-9 donated by Dr. H.G.F.Spurrell caught at Dunkwa, Gold Coast. These specimens being deposited in the Paris Museum.

Wildekamp in 'A World of Killies Vol I' states Couacrou (present day Kouakoukrou, Ivory Coast). At the time of the original description this location was inside the borders of Ghana.

In BKA newsletter No.70, June 1971 David Blair quotes the source of Sauvage's type specimens to come from Assinia, a vague coastal locality near the Ghana/Ivory Coast border.


Coastal rainforest areas of southern Ivory Coast & southwestern Ghana on sedimentary soils.


A species which inhabits shallow areas of streams, brooks, swamps & pools. They have even been caught in small areas of water made by animal footprints.
David Blair noted them to inhabit tiny trickles of water & damp patches under twigs & leaves on the forest floor. He also could not find petersi & walkeri in the same biotope. He did find walkeri in a shaded stream & petersi in a seperated diamond digging 'a foot or two' from this stream.
He summarized his observations of petersi habitats as being 'small, quiet bodies of water, often flood pools of small forest streams or marshy patches near the headwaters of streams'. He also noted a lack of other sp. (usually). The water was found to be slightly acid & 'well saturated with humic compounds'. They were found in well shaded places in deep forest. The biotope was further observed to be on 'peaty soil held together by a tangle of fine roots'.
They have also been collected in slightly alkaline water in localities near Lake Bosumtwi, central Ghana. See BKA newsletter No.70, June 1971.

Distinguishing Characteristics  
Colour/Pattern Variability  

Originally described as Haplochilus petersii by Sauvage in 1882 from 5 specimens collected from the southeastern area of Ivory Coast. This was the same locality where E.chaperi were collected & used for the type specimens.

Arnold, in 1908, considered that they may have been present in the first shipment of A.calliurum possibly sent from the Niger Delta.

In 1910 Keilhack reported the species from Ossidinge, Cameroon & Misahöhe, Togo Hills, western Togo.

Boulenger, in 1913, corrected an error by Träber who labelled (1912) some preserved individuals from the Gold Coast (Ghana) as petersi where in fact they were spilargyreius.

Boulenger gives the following collector / location in his 1915 Catalogue.

  • 1-9. Collected by Dr. H.G.F.Spurell at Dunkwa, Gold Coast.

Myers put this sp. in Aphyosemion in 1924 but in 1933, placed them in Epiplatys. It was Clausen in 1967 who placed them in Roloffia.

In 1952 Meinken reported an aquarium strain from southeast Ivory Coast. Scheel (ROTOW 1) reported these as still being maintained up to 1968 but these were not common.

Gras reported some individuals in 1961 from Djigbe forest, Dahomey which he tentatively referred to petersi. In the same year Schiötz collected them near Mansu in the Kakum Forest Reserve, Ghana. Roberts also reports a collection of 5 specimens in 1963 from Elubo, Nzima, southwestern Ghana.

Daget & Iltis reported 35 specimens collected in coastal areas of eastern Ivory Coast.

In July 1970 David Blair & Paul Loiselle collected them in the forests of southwest Ghana. The fish collected died of shock & none were brought back alive.

Breeding Notes

Eggs are small with a water incubation period of 12-15 days. Sexual maturity is attained at 6-7 months.

Les McCathie in BKA Newsletter No.265, September 1987 gives the following information.
Requires plenty of space. Males can be aggressive. Fish sit under top plant cover. A piece of polystyrene was put on the surface of the tank where the fish hung under.
A dietary preference was observed for floating insects such as fruit flies.
Water conditions did not seem too important but a slightly acid water was used for breeding.
Eggs were found on the outer edges of top mops only. It was recommended to collect eggs daily.
Best breeding results were gained from feeding females seperately on fruit flies & Daphnia. Worm foods did not work as well as this sp. is a surface feeder.
On putting a male with this conditioned female 6 - 8 dozen eggs were observed over several days. After this period the pair were seperated & the eggs incubated seperately.
Eggs may be dry stored for 28 days or water incubated for 12-14 days. Fry are large on hatching & able to take newly hatched brine shrimp. Growth is reasonably good with first signs of sexing out at 10 weeks of age.
Young males are aggressive towards both sexes & should be watched. A large tank with plenty of cover rarely results in serious injuries.
Les noted that - 'Depending on their moods both the males & females produce vertical bars, which come & go in a matter of a few minutes'.

Diameter of Egg  

Scheel found crossing experiments with Aphyosemion sp. more successful than Roloffia sp.