Aphyosemion labarrei Poll 1951

A.labarrei. Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl

Meaning of Name

After Clement Labarre the original collector.

First Description

Poll M. 1951.

Notes sur les Cyprinodontidae de Musée du Congo belge. Premiére partie: Les Rivulini

Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 45 (1-2): 168-170, map.


5.5 cmGunther


D = 12-14, A = 14-17, D/A = +5-8, ll = 30-32 (Poll 1951)

  • n = 14, A = 25 (Scheel 1968, 1974)
  • NSC - 4. n = 13, A = 25 (Ajami, Cahalan & Hoelter 1974)




  • Haplochilus lujae (non Boulenger 1911) Pellegrin 1928
  • Aphyosemion (Fundulopanchax) labarrei Poll 1951
  • Aphyosemion labarrei Poll 1952
  • Aphyosemion NSC - 4. Berkenkamp 1971.(also called Aphyosemion brichardi by Cahalan in the 1970's).
  • Kingembe
  • Kisantu (Vanderhyst 1932)
  • Madimba (western Zaire)
  • Mai Ndombi (western Zaire)
  • Nenga Kibuku
  • Ngungu - Thysville (Duren 1937)
  • NSC - 4 (A USA import in 1970 from Pierre Brichard, Zaire)

Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl

Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl

Photo courtesy of Maurice Chauche & the KCF website.

Photo courtesy of Vasco Gomes

Photo courtesy of Gunther Schmaus

Type Locality

20 km from Madimba close to the village of Kiavo (western Zaire). Collected by Labarre 1950.


Western Zaire, in the middle to lower Insiki River drainage system including the small tributary of the Ngufu River where they were originally caught.


Swampy areas of small rainforest brooks & streams.

Distinguishing Characteristics Males have very broad outer margins of red in the caudal fin. Scheel reports a 'very strong blue metallic shine on sides' in ROTOW 1. Scheel also points out a lack of yellow pigment in the species.
Colour/Pattern Variability  

In 1951 Poll described this species from 73 specimens collected in the Lower Congo by Labarre in 1950. The area concerned being Madimba (Inkisi) near Kiavo, Kisantu, Thysville, Kigemba near Kisantu.

In 1956 Scheel received some of this species from the USA where they were being distributed as 'Blue Panchax'. Poll identified these fish as A.labarrei.

Known to have been imported by the BKA August/September 1968.

In 1970 Pierre Brichard exported this species to the USA. These were assigned the code NSC - 4 (New & Rare Species Committee of the AKA).

In 1973 an import was received in Amsterdam.

Geoff Wood collected this sp.in the early '70's to the east of Kinshasa in a forested area on the Kinshasa - Kenge road some 60 km from Kinshasa. Wood considered this sp. to be difficult to keep alive in captivity & it is doubtful if they made it to the UK.

In May 2011 Armand Van Deun collected in 2 localities - Nenga Kibuku, Ngufu River & Kingembe, Inkisi River.

In September 2011 Melanie Stiassny collected in the Mai Ndombe River, 100 miles from Kinshasa.

Breeding Notes

Reportedly a little difficult to breed although Scheel considered them easily kept & bred. Males can be aggressive & 2-3 females would ideally be best. Eggs are large & take 12-14 days of water incubation. Growth rate is fairly rapid with sexual maturity attained at around 5 months.

A breeding report appeared in BKA newsletter No.84, August 1972. These fish were obtained in June 1970 in poor condition. A water temperature of 75°F was used to bring the fish round which took 2 months. For breeding this was dropped to 68°F. The fish layed many eggs but most were infertile. Only 26 proved fertile, 16 of which hatched out but died over a 5 day period. These fry were very weak on hatching.
The temperature was raised to 75°F & the pair began spawning. Within 2 weeks 56 eggs were collected & eyed up. These hatched between 9-21 days. The fry were 'large & lively'. Growth rate was slow, taking 7+ months to reach full size. Young fish were observed to spawn when one & a quarter to one & a half inches long, this being 3-4 months of age.

Brian Moore put a breeding report in BKA newsletter No.219, November 1983 where he bred them in rainwater. The tank was bare except for a large floating mop. Water temperature 68-74°F. The fish were fed lamb heart, grindal worm, fruit flies & flake.
A 10% water change was made every 4 days & uneaten food was removed regularly. Egg production was around 10 per day but 20% of these proved infertile. Eggs had a slght amber tinge. It was stressed that the water in the egg container be kept clean & it was placed under the outlet pipe of a filter. Eggs started to hatch in 2 weeks.
Newly hatched fry are 4-5 mm on hatching & were fed infusoria for the first few days.

Reports have suggested that they will spawn in water of DH 15 & have been known to spawn as low as 58°F.

In BKA newsletter No.329, February 1993 I wrote a piece where I reported these fish needing clean water to breed succesfully. This sp. responds well to water changes a few degrees cooler. Eggs should be kept in very clean conditions & hatch in 9 - 18 days. Growth rate was observed to be slow. Fry should be given regular water changes with well aged water. Not a long lived sp.

George Molloy sent me the following information in an e-mail 12/9/2003 where he first encountered them in the early '70's.....(re-printed by kind permission).
"I chanced upon A labarrei and noted in the breeding section a passage from one of my old reports to the newsletter, after 30 years or so, I still have a vivid picture of those little fish in my mind. They were in such atrocious condition when I got them, no self respecting shopkeeper would have sold them and only an idiot would have bought them, but being a killi nut I guess I qualified for the latter !. It paid off though, when I got them up and running, set up in 12x12x8 all glass tanks an inch of peat on the base, a mop and a floating indian fern, lovely amber coloured water and soft lighting, they were a sight to behold, not the cold green as usually depicted, but a vibrant mixture of green and red with beautiful maroon edging to the fins, a sight I have never forgotten, despite the many lovely species I have kept since".

Diameter of Egg 1·6 - 1·8 mm.

There are a number of reports documenting how males are aggressive towards females. Plenty of cover in the form of plants or mops should be provided with extra females if available.
This sp. is reportedly very shy. To this end it was observed that the parents did not take to being moved & took several weeks to resume spawning.
Spawning can be induced with a water change or by adding a handful of peat to the tank.