Cichlids (East Africa)
Many species of many colours
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African Great Lakes
Some species are critically endangered
Lake Malawi has a greater number of fish species in its waters than any other lake in the world.
From 2.5cm to over 90cm!
A wonder of evolution
Cichlids are famed for their fantastic breeding and reproduction habits. Some males build underwater sandcastles to impress and attract a mate. Some species work with other fish such as the kampango catfish to share a nest and earn protection from predators. Females of several cichlid species carry their fertilized eggs in their mouths to keep them safe; once hatched, the young fish will return to their mother's mouth when they sense danger.
Some unusual table manners!
Under threat from overfishing
Some cichlid species, such as tilapia for example, are important food sources. Overfishing is the major threat facing this amazing array of cichlid species.
Other major problems include introduced species such as Nile perch and water hyacinth, and deforestation which causes siltation of the water.
What is WWF doing?
Its projects in this area are concerned with appropriate management of fishing, climate change mitigation and effective watershed management. Specific projects also look at environmental education and establishing sustainable tourism enterprises.