Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday
African mouthbrooding cichlids are members of the family Cichlidae, and share the common feature that the females alone brood the eggs and young in their mouths and sometimes look after the fry for a while after release. The males play no part in the care of the eggs and young. There is no pair bond between the male and female fishes. In the wild all males endeavour to hold a spawning territory. Those that succeed display splendid coloration. Females visit the males and their spawning territories only when they are ready to spawn. The females taking care of their fry are called maternal mouthbrooders because the female immediately picks up the fertilized eggs and holds them in her mouth for about three weeks while the little ones hatch and grow a bit. During this time, the female will not eat in order to give the next generation a head start in life. When the fry get old enough, they will venture out of the female’s mouth to learn the behaviors of their kind, but when they feel threatened, the fry will swim back into the female’s mouth and stay for about 20 minutes.