Austrolebias patriciae, (Huber, 1995)


The species was discovered by Dan and Patricia Fromm on June 11, 1993. The first location the species was found was along the road to Clorinda, President Hayes Dept., 500 mtr south of the Rio Negro, Paraguay.

Austrolebias patriciae is small relative to the average of the genus, resembling A. alexandri and affinis by its blue-green coloration, but distinguished when preserved by a rather less marked dichromatism, prominent anterior bars and by certain meristic data (males average A = 23-24 versus 21-23; LL=23-25 versus 25-26, and especially D/A = +2 to +4 versus -1 to -3); in addition, A. patriciae has a line of 8 - 12 neuromasts in place of a preopercular canal, and many others partially surround the eye, which is placed higher. The pectorals are long, reaching the fourth anal ray in the male (scarcely the first in alexandri and affinis) and the second in the female. Finally, a significant ( ?) element, the membrane between the rays of the vertical fins does not extend as far as their distal edge, the opposite of A. affinis, thus creating a ragged outline.

Life colors :

Male, female, and juveniles dissimilar (the inverse of the color in alcohol). Only juveniles have large dark gray bars on the flanks and dark grey flames (= streaks) the length of the unpaired fins, more intense distally, almost forming a marginal band on the anal. The adult male is particularly handsome, especially when courting : the flanks are then an intense metallic green; normally only the lower flanks and the preopercular spot are bright emerald green, and the unpaired fins are densely spotted with the same color, all on an brownish beige base without stripes. A dark marginal band is present on the pectorals, the caudal, and the anal. The eye is, in contrast, circled with a brilliant orange and crossed by the black bar common among Austrolebias. The female is spotted vertically with maroon blotches on a lighter base, some, behind the opercle, are more intense and almost black. In color, the female bears a strong resemblance to the other small Austrolebias of Argentina, Uruguay, and the extreme south of Brazil.



Austrolebias patriciae - male. © Image made by F.Vermeulen.
Austrolebias patriciae - female. © Image made by F.Vermeulen.

Comparison with males of A. alexandri and A. affinis :

· patriciae is easily separated from alexandri by the well marked striped pattern, in the latter made of regular brown bars; even though they are apparent only in the juvenile, broader and more distinct behind the opercle in the former.

· patriciae is distinguished from affinis (D. Fromm, pers. comm) by the disposition of spots on the flanks (vertically in the latter; posteriorly in a horizontal median line in the former), by the length of the lower part of the black eye bar (short in the latter; long, reaching the jaw, in the former).

The species name Austrolebias patriciae is chosen by Huber to honor Patricia Fromm, the co- collector of the species together with her husband Dan Fromm.


To breed most Austrolebias you need a tank that has about 10 to 25 litre water in it, a small jar or plastic container of about 10 to 15 cm high , a little bit of well boiled peatmoss or coco-peat and a watertemperature between 18 and 24 C. It is wise to add an small filter to that tank and change water on a regularly weekly basis for 90 %. Bring 1 male and, if possible, 2 or more females in the tank and feed the fishes daily with life food like daphnia, red- and black mosquito larvae and white worms. Austrolebias does not accept dry food easily and also heart is not taken if other live food is offered. If possible breed this genus in bigger tanks with more than one pair or trio and give some hiding places if you do so. In case of breeding with more than one male you also should provide more than one spawning container. Every male must have one and you will see they show nice territorial behaviour to attract females into there own spawning place.

The spawning take place during the whole fertile life of the fishes, starting at 5 to 6 weeks of age till they become old and weak or die by the lack of water in there natural environment. This will be within 8 to 11 months, depending on the temperature . Higher temperatures will trigger more rapid aging.

In the wild Austrolebias lives in cool environments during the wintertime. Temperatures in Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina can get very low. Incubation time is normally 6 weeks if stored at high temperatures ( 25 C.) and longer if kept at lower temperatures. The development can take that 5 tot 6 months also. So it is wise to check the eggs on a regularly basis to see if the eyes inside the eggs are fully developed and the iris is good visible. If eyed- up, put a part of the peat with the eggs in water that has an cool (ca. 18 C) temperature. If the fry hatches normally and swim within a few hours you also wet the rest of the peat. After hatching I feed the fry immediately with Artemia nauplii. A day or so later I pour the water together with the fry off and place them in well filtered tank without any peatmoss to grow up. Austrolebias are not used to strong currents and juveniles can die if turbulece is to strong.The remaining peat will still have eggs inside that are not ready to hatch. You can repack the peat and store it for some extra time. This is nature's answer on short rain showers that fill pools only temporarily followed by another dry period. Such an event would kill the complete population of the species in that area if all eggs would have hatched with first rains. These (late) eggs will hatch later, sometimes very much later, and the older ones will eat these youngs.

As stated before, young’s are growing fast and will produce their first eggs after 5 to 6 weeks already, if not even sooner. This breeding information is applicable to most Austrolebias. If the above Austrolebias- species do have an different behaviour you will find below in this chapter under <remarks>.



Austrolebias patriciae - male. © Image made by F.Vermeulen.
Austrolebias patriciae - male. © Image made and donated by Pablo Calviño, Argentina.
Austrolebias patriciae - head detail. © Image made by F.Vermeulen.
Ruta 34: September 2005. Wayne Smith at pool on Ruta 34, near Palacios village, Santa Fe. This is one of the most southern biotopes where Austrolebias patriciae can be found. Austrolebias cf bellottii lives here as well. © Image made and donated by Martin Fourcade.


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Huber, J.H. 1995. Nouvelles Collections de Cyprinodontes paraguayens, avec Description de 4 Especes Rivulines inedites et Redecouverte dúne Espece a la Localite typique juscuálors indeterminee. Assoc. Killiphile Francophone de Belgique, Killi Contact, Aug. 23 (2): 6, fig. 2.