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Inhabits the so-called intermediate zones of the lake, where rocky shores give way to sandy bottoms with scattered rocks. Towards the northern limit of its range it has been observed to show a distinct preference for rocky caves and crevices. This is in contrast to most other members of the genus, which tend to forage over sand, but similar to behaviour seen in A. hansbaenschi. Several males may possess territories in larger caves.

This was one of the first Aulonocara spp. to enter the hobby and its popularity has endured. It’s known by several other vernacular names including ‘Freiberg’s peacock’, ‘fairy cichlid’ and ‘African butterfly’ as well as the erroneous ‘scientific’ names Trematocranus trevori, T. jacobfreigbergi and T. regina. There are also a number of selectively-bred ornamental forms including ‘eureka’, ‘albino’, and ‘colour select’. A naturally-occurring, yellowish form from Undu reef, Tanzania is often referred to as ‘lemon jake’, although this name is now also applied to some ornamental strains.

It can be told apart from most other members of the genus by the broad, pale distal margins in the dorsal, anal and caudal fins, more deeply-forked caudal fin and larger adult size.