Two ugly male Mangarahara cichlid looking for a mate (ZSL)

Two ugly fish are looking for a girlfriend to breed with in a bid to stop their species becoming extinct.

Experts at London Zoo have launched a worldwide appeal to find a mate for the last remaining Mangarahara cichlid.

The species is now believed to be extinct in the wild after dams dried up its habitat in the Mangarahara River in Madagascar.

Two of the last-known Mangarahara cichlid are in captivity at London Zoo, but unfortunately they are both males.

Brian Zimmerman, curator of the aquarium at the zoo, said: "The Mangarahara cichlid is shockingly and devastatingly facing extinction; its wild habitat no longer exists and as far as we can tell, only three males remain of this entire species.

"It might be too late for their wild counterparts, but if we can find a female, it's not too late for the species. Here at ZSL London Zoo we have two healthy males, as well as the facilities and expertise to make a real difference.

London Zoo had launched a worldwide appeal to find a female (ZSL)

"We are urgently appealing to anyone who owns or knows someone who may own these critically endangered fish, which are silver in colour with an orange-tipped tail, so that we can start a breeding programme here at the Zoo to bring them back from the brink of extinction."

They are appealing for owners of private aquariums, fish collectors and hobbyists to come forward if they know of any females in existence in order to begin a conservation programme, which will be run with colleagues from Zurich Zoo in Switzerland.

Speaking to the BBC, Zimmerman added that although the Mangarahara cichlid is not all that aesthetically pleasing, it is beautiful in other ways.

"They are not a particularly beautiful fish, they are gorgeously ugly, they are unusual. They are more a connoisseur's type of fish. They need quite a bit of space, the males are bigger than your hand, and they need a decent tank," he added.

However Zimmerman also said the chances of the appeal being successful are poor.

"I'm not very hopeful. This fresh water fish crisis is huge worldwide and as water becomes diverted for human use it becomes scarcer and fish generally lose out.

"I think there's probably a very slim to no chance of this fish surviving."