Article compiled and authorized for publish in NMG Web for Tim Addis (B.K.A.)






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.


Ahl E. 1928b. Description of Two New Cyprinodont Fishes from Nigeria.
Ann & Mag. Nat. Hist. 10 (2): p600 - 602.

Description of Aphyosemion seymouri....
Loiselle, Paul V. & Blair, David 1971.
A New Species of
Aphyosemion (Teleostomi: Cyprinodontidae: Rivulinae) From Ghana, and a Redefinition of Subgenus Fundulopanchax Myers, 1924.
JAKA Vol.8 No.1, Winter 1971 / 72.


D/A = +3-4.



Pronothobranchius kiyawensis. This photo labelled by the synonymous name Aphyosemion seymouri.
Photo: Bob Heap.
BKA photo from an I/P dated 1972

Pronothobranchius kiyawensis. Photographed in 1975 from fish received from the German Democratic Republic.
Photo courtesy of Ed Pürzl

Pronothobranchius kiyawensis BKA import 1969/70 (formerly Aphyosemion BKA U1)
BKA Photo

German Import 2001? 2 males..Photo courtesy of Alan Green.

German Import 2001? distributed in Europe..Photo courtesy of Alan Green.

Female of the German import 2001. This is notably different to the 1968 import being noticeably spotted on the body.
Photo courtesy of Alan Green

Karsten Mody Electro fishing for Pro.kiyawensis..Photo courtesy of Karsten Mody.

Male collected by Karsten from Comoe National Park..Photo courtesy of Karsten Mody.

Female collected by Karsten from Comoe National Park..Photo courtesy of Karsten Mody.


I presented Karsten's material in BKA Killinews No. 476 (May 2005). These 3 photos were presented. I put below a paragraph from the piece..'Comoe National Park - I found P.kiyawensis regularly (but not in high densities) in some ephemeral ponds in the savannah as well as in the gallery forest. The majority of ephemeral ponds were, however, not colonised by this species. I have never found it in many ephemeral or any permanent running waters.'
Little is available online from this area but try....
This link provides a direct link to book airline tickets to Comoe.


The Kiyawe River in Northern Nigeria..The type locality for N.gambiensis is the banks of the Gambia River, Gambia


Known to inhabit the river area of the Kiyawa to the north of Katagum, northern Nigeria, & the area of the upper Gambia River.
This is a rather extensive distribution area.
Reports have suggested that material is deposited in the American Natural History Museum being collected in the Central African Republic.


The type locality is situated on the Accra Plains. This was a very small pool in a swampy area close to one of many intermittent streams. These flow into small coastal lagoons. During the dry season these are reduced to small isolated pools with the surrounding marsh area dried out.
This area has 2 rainy seasons each year. A long period of rains from mid-March to mid-July & a shorter period between September to November.

In 1970 the locality was a pool 100 metres long, 4 metres deep & 1·5 - 10 cm deep, densely overgrown with
Nymphaea (lilies) at it's deep end & emergent grasses at it's shallow end. The base was loose clay 4 cm thick over a compacted sub surface. The water was an opaque grey/green.
No data was recorded in this pool but another pool 2 km away was recorded as pH 6·8, DH 1, surface temperature 26°C, bottom temperature 24·5°C. These readings were taken on a cool morning & probably below average in the 2nd half of the rainy season which was exceptionally dry with about half a metre at the deepest part.
At 14.30 hrs the temperature was a uniform 28·3°C in 8 cm of water.
Caught in rain water swamps not influenced by the main river. They were found with
Procatopus species only. Temperature ranged from 24·5 - 31°C. Johnels reported that this species reproduced as an annual in isolated swamps which dry up during the dry season.
The paper describing
A.seymouri gives details of other aquatic organisms present in the biotope including water striders, water scorpions, dragonfly & mayfly(?) larvae, 'giant water bugs' & several sp. of diving beetle some of which were notably predatory on fish. No mosquito larvae were found in these pools.
In August 1970 isolated pools in this area were checked out & mosquito larvae were present but no
A.seymouri (P.kiyawensis).
Stomach contents of 6 individuals contained a large part of Cladocereans, small hemipterans & adult dipterans.
Large dragonfly & predatory diving beetle sp. were observed to attack fish in a collection seine.
Ghana sp. known to be sympatric include
Petersius intermedius (Characin), Barbus macrops (young), Barbus atakorensis (young), Barbus leonensis (young), Hemichromis bimaculatus, Tilapia guineensis, Tilapia melanotheron (young & adults).
Also collected in an intermediate stream in the Shai Hills, 30 miles north of Accra on the Accra - Akosombo road.
Distribution of this Accra collection would appear to be concentrated to the west of the Densu River. To the east the Volta River. South by the coast & north by the Shai Hills.
David Blair in 1970 & John Hughes from 1969 onwards have searched for this sp. in the area of Katagum, Northern Nigeria but have failed to find it.


A west African Nothobranchius look-alike. Pugnacious, aggressive head. Unpaired fins have a red outer margin with a blue submarginal band followed by a yellow band inside this. Few spots on sides.
Photographs are rare of other populations to offer any comparison between them. I hope to load any new material as I receive it. The above pattern may not hold as a constant reference with regard to future material.


Unknown due to insufficient material from which to study.
With recent (2001) imports from an unknown source which were quite colourful I still would not like to say how variable this sp. is.


Ahl described the species in 1928 from one male & one female collected in the Kiyawa River by Lt. Lloyd near Katagum, northern Nigeria. This location is found some 125 miles east of Kano.
Svensson had a single female in 1934 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.
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.
Milton also reported them from this area in 1966.
Kluge reported collecting a '
Nothobranchius' form near Lome.

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

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.
Collected by David Blair in June 1968. The BKA reported the first import on the 28th June 1970. The original description for
A.seymouri however states that they were sent to the BKA in 1968 & 1969. These were distributed as Aphyosemion BKA U1. They were collected 55 miles southeast of Accra on the Accra - Ada road. This import arrived in poor condition but the fish settled down & exhibited anchor worm & other wild parasite infestation. Although they were distributed to BKA breeders the wild fish were lost due to these parasites. Eggs were obtained though & these provided a temporary stable brood stock. These wild males had to be seperated in fighter jars as they were very aggressive.
Specimens from this collection were also sent to Scheel for study who considered they should be placed in
Aphyosemion on the basis of cephalic squamation of egg type.
Bruce Turner in the AKA was sent this sp. by Ted Seymour in the form of eggs. These were incubated for 6 months but the next generation was just belly sliders. Some eggs were given to another AKA member but these also failed to produce a future generation.
Bruce also mentions seeing preserved material in the American Museum of Natural History recorded as
N.rubroreticulatus collected in the Central African Republic. These were reportedly 'large'.
Following this import one year later Blair & Loiselle described them as
Aphyosemion seymouri in honour of E.J.Seymour (Ted), a former well respected technical editor of the BKA who had recently passed away.
Another import was received on the 10th of July 1970.
In 1971 this sp. was collected to the west of Niamey, the capital of Niger.
In 1974 Scheel placed this sp. in
Nothobranchius in the sub-genus Fundulosoma. In the years following Fundulosoma was regarded as a full genus however with one representative - thierryi.
A collection trip by Dr.Fritz Fröhlich was made in October? 1977. 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 & 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.
Rob Odijk collected this sp. at the end of May 1982 at several locations between Accra & Ada, lying on the right bank of the Volta River. (See DATZ July, 1983, pp.252-257).
The sp. was imported into Germany in 2001 & found there way to the UK shortly after.
There seems to have been a great hole in imports of this sp. from the wild. The next import I could find information on was in 1998/1999 where a German killie keeper had them.


The first breeding report for this sp. appeared in BKA newsletter No.49, September 1969. They were reportedly spawned on a layer of submerged peat. They were not seen to bury their eggs. Water used for breeding was pH 6·6, 'trace hardness', temperature 68-73°F.
Another report in newsletter No.51, November 1969 regarded hatching eggs. The breeder noticed one fry eyed up & trying to get out of the egg after 37 days of incubation. He wet the peat & the fry, measuring three eigths of an inch emerged. Four other fry emerged with a further one trapped by the head in the shell. All fry lay at the base of the tank & ignored brine shrimp. Despite their size all fry were lost within 48 hours.
In newsletter No.52, December 1969 a further report on breeding observations appeared. Scheel reported using water incubation successfully & hatched out a small number of fry after 6 weeks of incubation.
Another breeder reported using dry incubation varying from 9 weeks to 6 months.
Another breeder reported the fry 'small enough to require infusorians & stated that even after 5 months many eggs failed to hatch. The concensus of opinion seemed to favour between 9-12 weeks of dry incubation. Breeders reported finding eggs just below the surface of the peat but the majority were well buried.
Roloff gave an account in TFH January 1974 where he reported receiving a shipment from Blair in 1970. All fish were sick with bloody boils on the flanks apart from one pair which were healthier. This pair was selected as brood stock but all others died.
40 eggs were laid in a 2 week period before both fish died.. Eggs were kept in water at 75°F. Six fry hatched which were all belly sliders. No data is recorded as to what age in water they hatched at.
Breeding data : water temperature 73 - 78°F, pH 6·5 - 7·5, DH 8. Eggs maintained at 75°F.
Despite every effort these sliders only grew to 1" in the biggest case with most being considerably smaller.
At 3 & a half months the fish were set up in a breeding tank with 2" of water over a peat base. Three such spawnings resulted in 20 fry which were healthy & grew to the size of the original import. There were only 3 females in this brood stock.
Pairs were put into seperate breeding tanks at 4 months of age & kept together for 1-2 days before being seperated. This was repeated on a weekly cycle.
Peat was dried for 4 weeks & fry removed with an eyedropper. After 1 day the peat was redried & rewetted in 1 week intervals.
21 spawnings were recorded which produced few fry (12) in an interval of 4-9 weeks. In 3 cases only 1-2 fry hatched at 11 weeks.
This 4 week incubation was considered unsuccessful & a future experiment of 6-7 weeks proved the most successful.
None of these fish exceeded 7 months of age.
On a trip to Liberia all his stock was distributed to experienced killie keepers but after 6 months none survived.
Walter Kessel gave a breeding account in JAKA Vol.9 No.12 reprinted from a DKG journal where he used a peat based tank, water temperature 72-74°F, pH 6·4 - 7, GH 5 - 15. He found that 90% of eggs were infertile. Eggs were taken out after 3 days of laying but this had no effect in getting better eggs.
Roloff suggested a dry incubation period of 6-7 weeks whilst Morgner tried 8-10 weeks & hatched 28 fry, 18 of which were belly sliders. The peat was rewet after 10 days which yielded a further 5 fry, 3 of which were belly sliders. These could not be raised. The peat was redried to a total dry incubation period of 6 months but all eggs turned white with no noticeable development.
One breeder we know has kept eggs in dry storage for 30+ years & has hatched good fry in small batches.


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.


Reference sources: 2 photos of interest.
JAKA Vol.8 No.1. Winter 1971-72
JAKA Vol.9 No.12. December 1976
TFH. January 1974