Cichlid of the Week: Tropheus moorii

Now that we’re at the lake and have gotten things relatively situated, I thought it would be appropriate to begin a (roughly) weekly series called the Cichlid of the Week. While it would be appropriate for me to begin with Neolamprologus pulcher, I haven’t actually seen them yet (they aren’t really found above 10 m – and our SCUBA tanks won’t be here until Monday). In light of that, I thought I’d start out with another fish that we’ve seen plenty of in the shallows.

Tropheus moorii is a shallow water species found everywhere in the lake. They have a huge number of color morphs. We’ve seen at least three morphs here, the most abundant have dark bodies and bright yellowish blotches on their sides. The largest individuals we’ve seen are roughly 20-25 cm in length. They’re very territorial (see video below), and are persistently chasing each other away from their self-proclaimed home rock. These fish are also maternal mouth brooders, which means the females take the fertilized eggs into their mouths and keep them there until after they hatch. Even after they’ve hatched, the fry flee back into their mothers mouth at the first indication of danger.

In the video below you’ll see two fish fighting over a particular spot, and one fish eventually running off the other. Interactions like this seem to be continuously happening amongst these fish.

Today we all also went for a short run and a brief workout set. One more reason for the locals to think the Mzungus are crazy I suppose…

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