Pale and dark dichromatism related to microhabitats in a herbivorous tanganyikan cichlid fish,Telmatochromis temporalis

Abstract

Dichromatism and habitat utilization of a small herbivorous cichlid fish,Telmatochromis temporalis, were studied in a littoral rocky area of Lake Tanganyika. Individuals of both sexes had either pale or dark body coloration that did not change for long periods. Both sexes defended territories from consexuals, and a male had a harem of several females. Pale fish had territories in exposed areas and dark fish in shaded ones. Larger fish were dominant over smaller consexuals and occupied well-illuminated areas. When pale and dark fish were kept in areas with shaded and lighted backgrounds, respectively, they changed body colour within a few weeks. When pale fish were in well-illuminated areas and dark ones in shaded areas, they were cryptic. BecauseTelmatochromis temporalis are very vulnerable prey in coastal areas, dichromatism may function as antipredator camouflage.

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Mboko, S.K., Kohda, M. Pale and dark dichromatism related to microhabitats in a herbivorous tanganyikan cichlid fish,Telmatochromis temporalis . J. Ethol. 13, 77–83 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02352566

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Keywords

  • Coastal Area
  • Defend
  • Shade Area
  • Animal Ecology
  • Large Fish