Melanochromis auratus

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Melanochromis auratus
Melanochromis auratus (male).jpg
An adult male auratus cichlid
Melanochromis auratus (female).jpg
An adult female auratus cichlid
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cichliformes
Family: Cichlidae
Genus: Melanochromis
M. auratus
Binomial name
Melanochromis auratus
(Boulenger, 1897)
Melanochromis auratus map.svg
  • Chromis auratus Boulenger, 1897
  • Pseudotropheus auratus (Boulenger, 1897)
  • Tilapia aurata (Boulenger, 1897)

Melanochromis auratus, the auratus cichlid, is a freshwater fish of the cichlid family. It is also known as golden mbuna and Malawi golden cichlid. It is endemic to the southern region of Lake Malawi, particularly from Jalo Reef southward along the entire western coast down to Crocodile Rocks.


Auratus cichlids are small, elongate fish that can grow up to 11 centimetres (4.3 in). Juveniles and females are bright yellow with black and white stripes on the upper half of the body. Adult male coloration is drastically different with dark brown or black body and light blue or yellow stripes on the upper half of the body.

In the Aquarium[edit]

The auratus cichlid is one of the most popular mbuna cichlids in the aquarium trade. In aquarium stores, there will usually be one dominant male that is colored black, the rest will display the submissive "female" coloration of yellow. If this male is sold, the next dominant male will take on the black color.[citation needed]


Like many other cichlids from Lake Malawi, auratus cichlids are mouthbrooders. Females hold their fertilized eggs and fry in their mouth for a few weeks before releasing the fry.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Konings, A. & Kasembe, J (2018). "Melanochromis auratus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T61108A47234580. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T61108A47234580.en.
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Melanochromis auratus" in FishBase. February 2013 version.