The “Cape Lopez” (Aphyosemion australe) is one of the longest serving killifishes. It was discovered due to aquarium imports from Gabon (Ogooué River estuary, Port-Gentil, Cape Lopez, northwestern Gabon), from where it was first brought in 1913. In 1921 Arthur Rachow described it as a new species, then cautiously as Haplochilus calliurus var. australis. The close relationship to Haplochilus calliurus (today Aphyosemion calliurum) assumed by Rachow has not been confirmed, the two species cannot be successfully interbred beyond a first generation.
It is not even that unlikely that many of the Cape Lopez kept in aquariums today are still descended from these first imports. In the 1950s a golden colored mutant was added, which was given the scientifically invalid name Aphyosemion australe hjerreseni, and later a dark brown breeding form, called “chocolate”.
The Cape Lopez is among the simplest of all killifishes. It is a plant spawner and the eggs can develop both underwater and stored dry. Few killifishes are suitable for community aquariums, but the Cape Lopez is one of them because it is not very shy and is also uncomplicated with regard to feeding. Of course one must select a possible company with much expert knowledge, by-fish must be absolutely very peaceful and not too lively.
The life expectancy of the Cape Lopez is about the same as for similar sized livebearers (e.g. guppies), i.e. 1-3 years. The maximum size for Aphyosemion australe is given with approx. 5,5 cm (including tail fin).
For our customers: the wild form has code 304502, the golden 304702 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer