Metriaclima emmiltos was officially described by Stauffer, Bowers, Kellogg & McKaye in 1997. Before that the species was already known under the temporary names Pseudotropheus zebra ‘mpanga’, (Ribbink et al., 1983) and Pseudotropheus zebra ‘Red Dorsal’. The species name emmiltos can be broken down into two ancient Greek words. Em- means ‘with’ and miltos means ‘red lime’ or ‘red ochre’. Freely translated it means something like tinted red, a reference to the brightly colored dorsal fin.
Metriaclima emmiltos has a light blue ground color with black vertical stripes. The dorsal fin is bright orange/yellow, the black stripes stop well before the dorsal fin begins. The caudal fin is trimmed at the lower and upper edges with the same orange / yellow color.
The combination of colors distinguishes Metriaclima emmiltos from all other Metriaclima varieties. Only Metriaclima pyrsonotos and Metriaclima sandaracinos have this combination. In Metriaclima pyrsonotos, the black stripes continue a short distance into the dorsal fin. The differences with Metriaclima sandaracinos are less obvious. Metriaclima emmiltos has fewer teeth in the lower jaw and the length of the jaw and caudal peduncle differs.
The females are somewhat variable in color. Some Metriaclima emmiltos females are gray / brown in color, others tend more towards the color of males but are often not as brightly colored as the males.
Metriaclima emmiltos is only found in Lake Malawi. Their range is limited to Mphanga Rocks and the nearby Luwino Reef.
John de Lange
Mark Thomas – Marks Fiskenarie
Stauffer, Jay Richard Jr. & N.J. Bowers, K.A. Kellogg, K.R. McKaye. 1997. “A revision of the blue-black Pseudotropheus zebra (Teleostei: Cichlidae) complex from Lake Malawi, Africa, with a description of a new genus and ten new species”.