REOPENING JUNE 29: Reservations and face coverings required. Read More


Lake Malawi Cichlid

Lake Malawi Cichlid

Lake Malawi Cichlid Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

  • Class

    Ray-finned fishes
  • Order

  • Range

    The majority of cichlids are found throughout east Africa’s Great Lakes, including Lake Malawi, which the habitat at Regenstein African Journey mimics. They are found on nearly every continent.
  • Status

  • Habitat

    Cichlids mainly occupy lowland, freshwater areas of tropical and subtropical regions.
  • Niche

    Depending on the species, cichlids can be omnivorous, herbivorous, or carnivorous. At Lincoln Park Zoo the fish are fed pellets, gel, krill, and heads of lettuce.
  • Life History

    The mating systems—from monogamous to polygynous to cooperative—of Lake Malawi cichlids vary depending on species, habitat, and predator population. Most cichlids are mouth brooders that store eggs in their mouth before they hatch. Parents may also protect the young (called “fry) by scooping them up in their mouth when a predator approaches. Males perform courtship dances for the females to encourage them to lay eggs.
  • Special Adaptations

    Cichlids have good color vision and are believed to make extensive use of color and pattern cues in recognizing their own species and discerning the sex and behavioral state of an individual. Their jaws are armed with teeth, as are the unique pharyngeal bones, which give the cichlid a distinct advantage in the capture, manipulation, and chewing of its food.


Sign Up for ZooMail Weekly

Get the latest on upcoming events, new arrivals and more!

All Content © Lincoln Park Zoo.

2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

Get Map/Directions Call 312-742-2000

your zoo is...