No lake in the world contains such a diversified and distinct community of cichlid fishes as Lake Malawi - more than 800 species have been recorded.That 800 that evolved from only two species.
The cichlids are among the fishes best designed to adapt to living in a tropical lake. All Malawi cichlids are endemic to this lake.
There are even cichlids you just can find on one certain spot in the lake, like Pseudotropheus saulosi 05:14 at Taiwanee Reef.
Apart of that sometimes more than 70 different species are to find at a single location.
The most important factor that gives cichlids an avantage in a new lake is their ability to adapt rapidly to a new environment.
Therefore you can find several types of feeding specializations.
The Aulonocara species 00:50, with their large opening on the head which looks like colored patches, feeds by "listening" to the movement of small crustaceans in the sand.
The fin biter Genyochromis mento 01:21 has the nasty habit of feeding on the fins an scales of other cichlids. Many chichlides have notched anal and caudal fins, souvenirs of encounter with G. mento.
Nimbochromis livingstoni plays dead and waits for small fish prey to swim by.05:30
But the majority scrape off algue from the rocks or digging for invertbrates in the sand.
But there is common behavouir - all Malawi cichlid, apart from the non-endemic Tilapia rendalli, are maternal mouthbrooders. That means that only the female takes care of eggs and fry.
In the average three weeks of brood care the fry lives in the mouth of their mother. If they get to big, the fry will be released.
The lake Malawi is 560 km in length, 75 km in width and 705 m deep.
source: Ad Konings - Malawi Cichlids in their Natural habitat 4th Edition
music by: Adrian Berenguer track Mama