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.