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Ecological Differentiation Among the Piscivorous Haplochromine Cichlids of Lake Victoria (East Africa)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Preliminary results of stomach content analysis of piscivorous haplochromine cichlids from the Mwanza Gulf of Lake Victoria indicate that the members of this trophic group are specialized predators. Although able to feed on a range of organisms, the various species have a strong preference for certain food items. Besides specialization on prey species, prey size partitioning plays an important role (especially among the predators of haplochromines). The food specializations are often correlated with habitat restrictions. The diversity of food and habitat preferences are reflected in the morphology of the piscivorous group which also indicate the existence of various predation techniques. The resulting resource partitioning contradicts the prevailing notion that many haplochromine cichlids in Lake Victoria feed on the same food items in a similar way.

Affiliations: 1: Rijksmuseum van Natuijke Historie, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA, Leiden, The Netherlands


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