This is a scientifically oriented, noncommercial site devoted to a
fascinating trove of tropical biodiversity both the largest
lake-fish fauna and the largest vertebrate species flock on
earth the cichlids of southeastern Africa's Lake Malawi.
(It is Lake Nyasa or Niassa to the people of Tanzania and Mozambique,
who share this giant rift lake with Malawi.)
Here, among the site's more than 600 pages and over 500 images, you can find:
Answers to some frequently asked questions
(FAQs) about Malawi cichlids and their
classification, species flocks, and the Lake itself.
introducing some of the cichlids' wondrous trophic adaptations
(structural and behavioral specializations for feeding on specific, often quite unusual, diets).
This is another good place for the casual visitor to this site to "jump in" and
begin exploring. This table should also prove helpful
to those teaching general biology or ecology & evolution courses.
Lake Malawi Fact of the Day A compendium of some of the most striking "factoids" about
Lake Malawi and its biology.
A large, frequently updated bibliography of both historic and
up-to-the-minute scientific literature about Lake Malawi biology.
This bibliography is especially strong in the taxonomy of the lake's fishes
and their ecology, evolution, and genetics, but it also includes literature
on all other organisms. The bibliography also provides links to
hundreds of literature abstracts and dozens of full text downloads.
More than 230 color photos and other figures representing about
140 species from all 39 currently valid genera of the
"Hap" flock, and more than 170 photos and
drawings illustrating about 130 species and recognizable forms in
all 11 genera of the Mbuna flock.
Most photos are in JPEG format, for maximum detail with optimal
compression. Some holotypes
and other type specimens are illustrated. Here and there among the
many photos you may encounter particularly "cool stuff," such as a
classic example of aggressive mimicry
and an instance of the commensal relationship known as
A complete checklist of the "Haps" that
have been formally described from Lake Malawi, with the authorities
who named them, the year they were described, a link to the complete
bibliographic citation of the original description, often a link
to a page with pictures at this site, and a few links to resources
elsewhere on the Web. For the most part, only validly described
and scientifically named species are included in the checklist.
Thus, for example, Placidochromis electra is included, but
Placidochromis "electric brown" would not be. To aid in
identification, the checklist includes an icon signifying color pattern for each genus
(or even each species, if there is significant variation within the genus).
The "Hap" checklist is accessible both by genus and species
(alphabetically) and by color pattern.
Also, a complete Mbuna checklist gives all
species formally described from Lake Malawi, again with the name's
authorities, year described, bibliographic citation, usually a link
to a picture page at this site, and any links to other notable Web
resources. Most of the photos from the landmark Mbuna paper by Tony Ribbink
and colleagues (1983) are made available here. In the Mbuna flock, many
varieties without formal scientific names (such as Pseudotropheus
"elongatus black") are illustrated.
All of Lake Malawi's
tilapias are now represented here.
A greatly expanded section on all of the
non-cichlid fishes of Lake Malawi,
including over 50 species almost all of them illustrated!
An alphabetical checklist of all
the cichlids of Lake Malawi that have been scientifically described
and named, presented as an Adobe Acrobat file. Membership in the
endemic "Hap" or Mbuna flocks or nonendemic status is indicated.
On a distinctly bemused note, there are
anagrams of all of the
names of Malawi cichlids.
An extensive index of all subjects
and fish names found here. A search box on the same page enables finding
every occurrence of every significant word on the entire site!
Links to a feast of related information,
including the Web sites of other scientists who work with Malawi cichlids,
cichlid discussion lists, cichlid aquaristic resources, searchable
catalogues of fish generic and specific names, other ichthyology and
taxonomic resources, and information on the countries of Malawi,
Tanzania, and Mozambique.
I hope you will find much to interest you here. The content, like the
cichlids themselves, will continue to evolve, so please visit often.
I welcome your comments and suggestions! [E-mailer button ("Send ")
below and on every page.]