The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

Chiotha, S.S., K.R. McKaye, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1991. Prey handling in Trematocranus placodon, a snail-eating cichlid fish from Malawi. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 2 (3): 203-208.  

Laboratory studies were conducted to observe feeding behavior of Trematocranus placodon, a snail-eating cichlid fish from Lake Malawi. The fish were provided with Bulinus tropicus snails and we examined initiation of feeding, prey capture and processing, and interaction of the fish during feeding. The results showed that initiation of feeding was significantly longer in single fish experiments than several fish together. Free floating snails were sucked in but for snails attached to one another or other objects the fish dislodged them before sucking. Handling time increased with increasing snail size and a similar trend was observed for crushing resistance of snails. Implications of the results for the potential use of T. placodon in biological control of schistosomiasis are discussed.




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