This ugly guy is looking for a wife. And with some urgency: the fish, a cichlid of the Ptychochromis Mangarahara species hosted by the London Zoo, is one of the last three males of its breed kept in captivity, and if it does not generate an offspring soon it could condemn its species to extinction.

The Ptychochromis Mangarahara takes its name from its natural habitat, a river in Madagascar (called, indeed, Mangarahara) dried up by the construction of some dams. In this freshwater course the fish is now considered extinct. The last hope before its complete disappearance is to have it reproduced in captivity, but for this the other half of the apple is needed.

A fish that does not have these problems: it lives on the branches and reproduces itself

There are two males of this species at the London Zoo and one in the Berlin Zoo. A female was once preserved here, but the attempt to make her mate with her companion ended in tragedy, with the poor woman who put her skin back on. Unlike the males of other species, these show particular attention for eggs and fry, a characteristic that leads them to often compete with females.

Now it is necessary to find another volunteer willing to try, and quickly, because two of the three males are already 12 years old. Those in charge of the zoo exclude the existence of females of the species in other institutes, while some private individuals may have them at home: they are more than anything else an animal sought by experts and enthusiasts of ichthyology. Whoever had one at home and was willing to lend it for the love of science can write to [email protected]; if you have it in the aquarium you should recognize it, it's not exactly a crash.

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