Lake Malawi Cichlid
Estimated Wild Population
Lake Malawi cichlids are highly diverse in size, coloration, behavior, and ecology. Their shape ranges from tubular to perch-like to disk-like. Cichlids have a single nostril on each side of their head, incomplete scales on their head, a well-developed dorsal fin, and distinctive pelvic fins. Their mating system also varies from monogamous to polygynous to cooperative depending on species, habitat, and predator population. Most cichlids are mouth-brooders that carry fertilized eggs in their mouth until they hatch. Parents may also protect their young, called fry, by scooping them into their mouth when a predator approaches.
Interesting Fact 1
Cichlids use color and pattern cues to recognize their own species and discern sex and behavioral state.
Interesting Fact 2
Their pharyngeal bones help them capture, manipulate, and chew food.
Interesting Fact 3
Males perform courtship dances that encourage females to lay eggs.
Commitment to Care
Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.
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The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy.
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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.