The special tiny one

This little guy is called Trematocara marginatum

The cichlids of Lake Tanganyika show many amazing behaviours. This little one (picture above) dives very deep during the day which makes it impossible to catch. Nobody really knows what it is doing down there. However, it comes up during night and, fortunately, shows up exactly at the place where I am staying for my project.

These fish occur in groups and, what is barely visible to the eye, they belong to different species: Trematocara marginatum and Trematocara nigrifrons. The second one is much more rare than the first and guess which one I need for my experiments??? Yep! And now it’s a problem that they are not easy to distinguish. What we do is a liiiittle bit tedious: (1) we catch the fish during night while scuba diving, (2) we put as many fish to the experiments as possible, (3) after the experiments we dissect the fish to see what species it is (they get anaesthetised before of course), (4) we find out that we tested the wrong ones.

Beautiful Kalambo Falls Lodge at Lake Tanganyika

That feeling when you worked the whole day for nothing. Priceless. Let me just meditate and have a glass of beer or two. Tomorrow is another day☀️

Published by caribiologist

Postdoc at the University of Basel, Switzerland

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