Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 137–145 | Cite as

Ethology and ecology of cichlid fishes of the genus Etroplus in Sri Lanka: preliminary findings

  • Jack A. Ward
  • Richard L. Wyman


The Asian cichlid fishes, Etroplus maculatus (Bloch) and E. suratensis (Bloch) were observed in their natural habitat. Ecological and behavioral interactions of these species have not been previously reported. E. suratensis benefits from being cleaned by E. maculatus; it is doubtful the ingestion of parasites and fungi is of much direct benefit to E. maculatus. The advantage to E. maculatus is more likely the survival and reproductive success of adult E. suratensis which in turn provide eggs and eleutheroembryos for the egg-young predatory habit of E. maculatus. Predation is lessened by age-specific crypticity of E. suratensis. E. maculatus displays a unique behavior during its parental cycle where both parents actively defend their young until they are nearly sexually mature and almost the size of the parents. Adult E. suratensis engage in altruistic multiple parental care where several adults care for a single brood that presumably were spawned by only two of the adults. Such behavior has not been reported previously for fish.


Cichlid Behavior Ecology Predation Prolonged parental care Multiple parental care Etroplus maculatus Etroplus suratensis Tropics 


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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk bv Publishers 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack A. Ward
    • 1
  • Richard L. Wyman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

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