Pronothobranchius gambiensis (Svensson 1933)

BKA representation of N.gambiensis. Male, from Johnels illustration of 1954.
Female from Svensson's illustration & description of 1933. Drawings by Bob Heap.

Meaning of Name

Pro refers to the latin before. Nothobranchius is an east African genera. When an 'ensis' is placed on a sp. naming it generally refers to a point of origin. In this case the Kiyawe River in northern Nigeria.

First Description

Svensson G. S. O. 1933

Fresh water fishes from the Gambia River (British West Africa). Results of the Swedish Expedition 1931.

Systema Naturae, Ed. X. v. 12 (no. 3): 1-102


Males 41·3mm SL, Females 36mm SL.


D = 15-17, A = 15-17, ll = 26-31


Males n=7, females n=4.





  • Fundulosoma gambiense Svensson 1933
  • Fundulus gambiensis (Svensson 1934)
  • Nothobranchius gambiensis (Svensson 1934)
  • Aphyosemion seymouri aus Ghana. (After a collection by Fröhlich 1979)
  • MacCarthy Island (Type Locality)
  • Niokolo - Koba National Park




One photo known by Martin Reichard Niokolo - Koba National Park.
Type Locality

Swamp on MacCarthy Island (now known as Janjanburreh) in the Gambia River drainage, Gambia.


Also - Swamp near Sukur Belong, Dobo. Along the Gambia River into Senegal.

Distinguishing Characteristics Has larger spots on body & fewer in number than Pro.seymouri. Caudal fin has an outer marginal band around the total margins.
olour/Pattern Variability Unknown due to insufficient material from which to study.

Described by Svensson in 1933 who had a single female collected from a rain water swamp on MacCarthy Island in the Gambia River.
On the 19th & 20th of November 1950 Johnels caught numerous specimens but only 5 were available for his redescription. Later in 1954 he considered them to belong to Nothobranchius.
Daget collected the sp. in 1954 in a nearly dried out rice field near Diafarabe, Upper Guineé.
Blache reported this sp. from Lake Chad in 1964.

In 1969 Radda made a very vague description proposing a sub-genus of Pronothobranchius of the genus Nothobranchius & placed within it Pro.kiyawensis & the later synonymised N.gambiensis.

A collection trip by Dr.Fritz Fröhlich was made in October? 1977 (some reports also give 1978). Photographs showed an area which had dried out. Also in September 1979 by Dr.Fritz Fröhlich in the Dobo swamp. The 1979 collection yielded a pair 30 mm and numerous individuals 15-20 mm long. In all 44 individuals were caught. Symptric species included Hyperolius spatzi & Rana occipitalis. The biotope in this area was in long grasses.
This collection was distributed in Germany as Aphyosemion seymouri aus Ghana.

In the 1980's Alan & Barbara Brown collected this sp. in Gambia (Sukur Belong) & brought live material back to the UK. These were collected on the north side of the river in an area known as Dobo swamp. This naming is to be considered suspect as translators on this expedition were not to be fully relied on.
The area of collection was a flooded grassy area rather than a swamp.
The returned material were bred & distributed but incubation periods would extend to 10 months. After a short period this collection died away through difficulty in breeding.

Martin Reichard collected on the 8th November 2005 at Niokolo - Koba National Park in pools along the Simenti - Camp d Lion road approx. 1-3 km before the camp.

Breeding Notes

See Pro.kiyawensis

Diameter of Egg 2 mm. Eggs from the original 1968 import to the BKA were reported as being 'clear, pale yellow'.
Eggs I bred from the 2001 German import were red. These being laid in sand with no peat present.
1· 2mm (Hans van Es - BKA No.330). Egg colour reported as 'yellowish'. 'Once developed they turn very light'.