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The Feeding Behaviour of a Cleaner and Scale, Skin and Fin Eater From Lake Malawi (Docimodus Evelynae; Pisces, Cichlidae)

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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).

Adult Docimodus evelynae feed upon scales, skin and fins of other fishes. Juveniles feed mainly on Aufwuchs and plankton, but small individuals (less than 50 mm SL) also clean fungi from other cichlids. The change from juvenile to adult diet takes place when individuals are between 60-80 mm SL. At this stage dentition alters: juvenile tricuspid teeth are replaced by adult unicuspid teeth. D. evelynae lives in predominantly rocky habitats where it occurs from the extreme shallows to depths of at least 91 m. Field observations indicated that it can tolerate marked changes in hydrostatic pressure. This was confirmed experimentally and it was also shown that this species can compensate physiologically for pressure changes more rapidly than all the other cichlids studied.

Affiliations: 1: J. L. B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown, 6140 South Africa


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