The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

Ribbink, A.J. 1994a. Lake Malawi. Pp. 27-33 in Martens, K., B. Goddeeris, and G. Coulter (eds.), Speciation in ancient lakes. Archiv für Hydrobiologie - Advances in Limnology, Volume 44: X + 508 pages.  

Lake Malawi is the southernmost of the Rift Valley Lakes. Its tropical setting maintains a permanent thermal stratification. Surface waters are oxygenated, but oxygen decreases with depth so that anoxic waters are a permanent feature below about 200 m depth. Although the tectonic activities which formed the lake basin originally date back to the Miocene, the lake is believed to have had roughly its present form for approximately two million years. It is the fourth deepest and the ninth largest lake in the world. There are more species of fish in Lake Malawi than in any other lake. Nearly all of these fishes are endemic, indicating that speciation took place in the lake. As in the other African Great Lakes the cichlid species flocks are numerically dominant. The lake and its fishes are vital to riparian communities and every effort should be made to conserve Lake Malawi.




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