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CICHLIDS

By Rhett Butler


LAKE MALAWI CICHLIDS


Lake Malawi was formed 1-2 million years ago. This geologically young, rocky lake of the East African Rift is about 375 miles (604 km) long and 53 miles (85 km) wide, making it the ninth largest lake in the world. The lake is bordered by Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. This lake is dominated by cichlids, most of which are endemic to the lake. Over 280 cichlid species have been described, although estimates of up to 500 cichlid species have been made. The largest group of Cichlids found in this lake is the Haplochromines with over 120 species and 48 genera. Among the Haplochromines, are the Peacock Cichlids of the genusAulonocara;the Mbuna, a large group, including the genera,Cynotilapia, Labeotropheus, Labidochromis,Melanochromis, andPseudotropheus; and the larger piscivores of the generaCyrtocara, Nimbochromis,and Sciaenochromis.

Lake Malawi Biotope Setup