Lake Malawi Cichlids
The third-largest lake in Africa, and most southern of
the African Great Rift Lakes, Lake Malawi is home to more
than 500 species of cichlid (sick-lid) fish. The
exact number of cichlid species in the world is unknown,
because new ones are discovered each year.
Popular in the pet trade, cichlids exhibit a wide diversity
of habitats and feeding preferences. Some prefer rocky
outcrops and shorelines, and pick invertebrates from algae
beds, while others are found in grass beds or near sandy
bottoms, and dig through the mud for food. These differing
preferences enable so many different species to coexist
in Lake Malawi.
Is that a sore throat?
As you view this exhibit, watch for cichlids that seem to
have a swollen throat. They are actually carrying developing
eggs in their mouth.