Procatopus nototaenia Boulenger 1904

Kribi, Cameroon. Photo: Courtesy of Ed Pürzl

Meaning of Name

Procatopus means anterior lower opening. This refers to the anus situated to the rear of the body. nototaenia refers to the red band on the back of the body.

First Description

Boulenger G.A. 1904

Descriptions of New West African Freshwater Fishes.

Journal Ann. Mag. nat. Hist., (14) 7 (79) 1904, d. pp 16-20.


Males 6 cm, females 4·5 cm.


D = 8-11, A = 15-18, ll = 27-29.





  • Procatopus glaucicaudis Clausen, 1959
  • Procatopus abbreviatus Pellegrin, 1929
  • Procatopus glaucicaudus Clausen, 1959
  • Procatopus lacustris Trewavas, 1974

Procatopus glaucicaudis Clausen 1959 - Collected by Clausen from a stream in the Cross river drainage 93 kms north of Kumba. Radda collected in a stream near Baduma in the Mungo river system (probably Wowe or Moliba).
The British Museum of Natural History has 16 specimens (14 male, 2 female) collected in the Menge, Wowe & Blackwater rivers tributaries in the Mungo drainage.

  • Bidou
  • Edéa
  • Fifinda - CBL 01 / 16
  • Kinké
  • Kopongo
  • Kribi
  • Lobé
  • Makondo
  • Nalia
  • Yabassi

Commercial Imports - Many fish of this species have been imported from commercially caught fish.

Commercial import from Cameroon.
Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Commercial import from Cameroon.
Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.


Fifinda - CBL 01 / 15, collected north of the Lokoundjé in a stream called the Fifinda in February 2001 by Olivier Buisson & Patrice Lambert. Two males & three females survived the journey back to aquaria. This is in the Lokoundjé drainage. Collected under the bridge on the road between Douala & Kribi in the Stream Fifinda. This is actually a large stream/river which flows directly into the sea.
Upstream from the bridge the river forms an area 6 metres wide with a small waterfall filling it. As it drains this area the width decreases & rapids are formed. Numerous plants grow between the rocks - Crinum natans, Anubias sp., Bolbitis heudelotii. Downstream no plants grew. Base consisted of dark gravel. Water was brownish, GH virtually zero, pH 6·5, no temperature recorded. The area was in full sun.
Sympatric species included Chromidotilapia aff.finleyi, Pelvicachromis taeniatus, E.infrafaciatus.
Also in this drainage P.similis is found & this is regarded as a border area between the 2 species.
See BKA newsletter No.540, Jan/Feb 2011.


Kribi -

Male collected about 35 km north of Kribi.
Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Female collected about 35 km north of Kribi.
Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.


Male collected at Kribi (nearest).
Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.

Male from Kribi.
Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl.



Kopongo -

Kopongo CI 04. A form found in a commercial shipment in the USA in 2004.
Photo courtesy of Tony Terceira.

Male from a commercial import into the USA in 2004 from Kopongo.
Photo courtesy of Tony Terceira.


Yabassi - A population which can appear yellowish in some lights & bright shining blue in others. The red/orange band on the back is less pronounced.

Yabassi CI 02 imported into the USA as part of a commercial shipment ex Yabassi in 2002.
Photo courtesy of Tony Terceira


CCPT 84 / 11 - Collected near Mbébé on the road between Londji & Edéa in a stream draining into the Nyong River. This is north of the Fifinda collections. This collection is reportedly having an orange reflection in the body & stripes in the fins. The anal has no extensions. This may be a population of P.similis.

Type Locality

Lobi river, south Cameroon.


Kellé, Lokoundjé, Lobé, Kienke & Ntem River drainages.


Prefers clear moving water over a stony base several metres wide. Water is soft & slightly acidic being often brownish in colour. They have been collected in various temperatures from 70-85°F.
Sympatric species include E.infrafasciatus, E.grahami, A.splendopleure, A.lugens, A.ahli, Poropanchax stigmatopygus.

Biotope of Procatopus nototaenia, north of Kribi, Cameroon.
Photo: Courtesy of Ed Pürzl

Above 2 photos of collection location Fifinda CBL 00/16.
Photos courtesy of Olivier Buisson.

See also A.ahli for biotope photo.

Distinguishing Characteristics Difficult to tell this species apart from P.similis. P.nototaenia is seperated in some literature by the anal fin extensions & the red line along the back. Also a straighter back. However, some populations of P.similis can show these characteristics.
Colour/Pattern Variability  

Boulenger gives the following collectors / locations in his 1915 Catalogue.

  • 1-15. Collected by G.L.Bates in a tributary of the Lobi River, southern Cameroon.#16-19. Collected by G.L.Bates in the Kribi River area, southern Cameroon. The 4 specimens examined were all male from the Kribi collection.
  • 20-31. Collected by Major W.A.C.Cockburn in the Cross River district of Old Calabar.

Possibly first introduced into the BKA around April 1966. See BKA newsletter No.9. Also imported in 1967. See BKA newsletter No.20.

Breeding Notes

Breeding is a little different to other West African killies. They lay eggs in tight nooks & crannies. Various mediums have been used. Olivier Buisson wrote an article in BKA newsletter N.540, Jan/Feb 2011 where he used small plastic mesh rolled up into a tube around a mop & tied together. For this you can use greenhouse shading material which can be bought cheaply off the roll. This tube can be removed & eggs taken off. However, this handling can cause many eggs to fungus.
Eggs removed to another container should be water changed daily, 23-26°C. Periods occur where no eggs are fertilised. Eggs hatch in 15-20 days & are about 4 mm long. First food was newly hatched brine shrimp. Snails were aded to eat left over foods.
At 3 months the young reach 2 cms, at 6 months they reach sexual maturity. Full size is not attained until they are 18 months.
Water was 75% RO & 25% tap. Conductivity measured 300-400 µs, pH 6·5-7, temperature 20-26°C. Salt can be added at 3 teaspoons per litre.

Diameter of Egg  

Olivier Buisson remarked on some diseases he encountered with his collections. The mouth can be prone to fungus. Also the anal part of the body turns translucent white. Swimming became 'wave like' & resperation increased. Death would follow. Sometimes this would vanish but return after a few weeks.