Cichlid of the week: Neolamprologus multifasciatus


Above: A little “multi,” sadly where we found them was at 15 m off the east coast of Mbita Island; a little too deep for my camera, so you have to settle for a shot of this little guy we brought up with us.

Last week I wrote about the worlds largest cichlid, its only fitting that this weeks feature be the worlds smallest, which also lives in this lake. Neolamprologus multifasciatus is a tiny fish maxing out just over 2 cm. They live in shell beds in which each male defends a plot of shells and all the lady multi’s that call those shells home. The shell bed we were working on was huge, empty gastropod (snail) shells as far as the eye could see (which depending on the visibility was 1-7 meters). 

Don’t let the small size fool you, these little guys are kings of their domain. The males duke it out to make sure their neighbors don’t get too close to their territory, and the males “police” the females living in his territory to make sure their fights don’t get out of line. Of course, each fish has its own little shell for safety in case a bigger (any) fish comes along looking for a meal. The plan works great until the predator happens to be a researcher who just picks up the shell. Eventually getting them out of the shell was a huge pain however…


One Reply to “Cichlid of the week: Neolamprologus multifasciatus”

  1. I continue to love reading your blog. It is great to see the cichlid of the week. Also, the National Geographic link was interesting! Yes, I loved the photographs of the people and terrain. hugs, mom

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