Nimbochromis livingstonii, photo copyright © by M. K.

Nimbochromis livingstonii; photo copyright © by M. K. Oliver. N. livingstonii is well known for its unusual predatory habits. It has been observed mimicking a dead fish, lying motionless on its side, on or partly covered by the substrate, and preying on small fish that come to pick at the "carcass" (Fryer & Iles, 1972). A more recent study of this behavior was published by McKaye (1981). There is a good summary of the biology of this species in the excellent book by Konings (1995c), from which the following description of breeding coloration and behavior is taken:

"Breeding males of N. livingstonii are a dark blue which completely obscures the blotched pattern. It is likely that neighbouring individuals 'know' each other and that the sexual ripeness of the male is noticed by females in adjacent territories. Remarkably, a kind of pair formation occurs before spawning. Males in breeding attire are frequently accompanied by a non-brooding female. Some females (in captivity) have been observed cleaning (!) the stone on which they subsequently deposit their eggs (Willemse, 1976). This behaviour is reminiscent of substrate brooders. Spawning usually takes place at the edge of the rocky biotope, where the male will have built a shallow saucer-shaped nest against a large rock. The eggs are fertilised by the male while they are still in the nest. Both male and female circle around each other, the female depositing a batch of eggs and then moving forward to make room for the male, who fertilises them. On the next pass the female picks up the fertilised eggs and then deposits a new batch."



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The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa:

Last Update: 19 July 1998
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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