Japanese Journal of Ichthyology

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 271-282

First online:

The social and mating system of the maternal mouthbrooderTropheus moorii (Cichlidae) in Lake Tanganyika

  • Yasunobu YanagisawaAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Ehime University
  • , Mutsumi NishidaAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Sciences, University of the Ryukyus

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Territorial behaviour, reproduction and migration of the epilithic algal eater,Tropheus moorii, were investigated in Lake Tanganyika, Africa. Adults of both sexes had individual feeding territories which adjointed each other. Males, who occupied higher rocks than females, usually stayed at the same sites for more than 5 months. Females left their territories to pair with males in the males’ territories. Paired females actively foraged under the protection of their mates for up to 3 weeks prior to spawning. After spawning, females usually settled in a site unoccupied by territory-holders to mouthbrood the offspring for a month. An examination of the ovaries and a removal experiment of dominant males suggest that females cannot attain fully mature ovaries in their own territories and choose males whose territories can provide enough food to satisfy their nutritive demand. The evolution of a number of local colour morphs in this fish is briefly discussed in relation to social selection.