IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Biology

The large variety of habitats found within Lake Tanganyika has allowed the cichlids to diversify into numerous species, each specialising in a particular ecological niche and showing a range of adaptations in body shape and behaviour (3) (5). In the case of Altolamprologus calvus, it has become adapted to living amongst rocky environments, where it feeds on tiny crustaceans found on rock surfaces (5) and the young of other fishes (6). Its compressed body allows it to fit into narrow crevices and caves; an ability that has led to the development of an innovative breeding strategy. The female locates a crevice or cave that is too small for the male to enter, and spawns up to 300 eggs. The male then fertilises the eggs by lying over the crevice entrance and releasing sperm into the water. Both sexes guard the developing embryos; the male patrols the outside of the crevice, occasionally leaving to feed, while the female remains in the crevice at all times until the eggs hatch (2). The young continue to be protected as long as they remain within their parents' territory (6).

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Source: ARKive

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