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P. pulcher Fry Showing Mouth Brooding Behavior

Discussion in 'West African Cichlids' started by aarhud, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    The. P. pulcher pair that are tending free swimming fry broke up after a couple of weeks. The female is courting other males while the male is tending the remaining 5 free swimmers.

    I noticed yesterday that the fry were actively trying to get into the males mouth. I watched the lone male for quite a while and he would scoop the fry up and hold them much longer than what I have seen from other substrate/cave spawners. The most I seen him hold at once was three fry. Eventually he would spit them under a leaf. The lights are on a timer and still had 3-4 hours left before turning off.

    Anybody noticed this before?
    themountain and Mbkemp like this.
  2. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    The male is indeed carrying the fry around in his mouth. Yesterday afternoon I thought the fry were gone, but his mouth was extended. I watched for a long while, but he never spit. He swam around the tank and still chased other fish. This morning, I seen him with one fry.
  3. gerald

    gerald Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Wow, never heard of a krib doing that, other than for short-term transport when retrieving runaway fry. But some of their not-too-distant cousins do it, like Chromidotilapia.
  4. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    You can see the extended mouth. Sorry for the crappy picture.

    [​IMG]
  5. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    The male is only guarding 4-5 fry. He is acting like a mouth brooder. The female he spawned with is flirting with other males and this male, but he continues to guard. So odd.
  6. gerald

    gerald Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Now almost 3 weeks after free swimming, right? This is amazing and should get a writeup in the Buntbarsche Bulletin or somewhere. Keep getting pix!
  7. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I'll try to get more pictures. Today he was not "holding" and the fry were hanging out under a oak leaf. The fry may be large enough now to survive to adulthood. I would guess 3-4 weeks old, but I don't recall when the spawn occurred.

    Hopefully, he spawns again with one of the females. I never noticed him taking fry into his mouth when there was a big group of fry. Once the group whittled down to 4-5 fry and the female left, he started carrying them. What really struck me as odd is how the fry actively sought shelter in his mouth. I had seen the same behavior in mouthbrooding severum fry.

    I'll see if I can get a cell phone video.
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  8. gerald

    gerald Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    How long did they typically stay in his mouth each time? More than just a minute or two to move them from one place to another?
    And do you know whether they spent the night in his mouth? When I had red-hump Geophagus they'd go into mom's mouth when the lights went off, and be released in the morning.
  9. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I don't know about the exact times. I have seen him holding and come back an hour or so later to see him still holding. I don't know if he is holding that whole time or not. Other times he is simply guarding the fry like a typical substrate spawner.

    Maybe something broke in him and he is staying in "move the fry" mode for much much longer than normal lol. What is cool is the final 5 fry that are being carried around are actually surviving. The tank hosts tetras, other cichlids, and some endlers. I thought the fry would have been eaten by now.

    They holding behavior is most likely about over. The fry are of a size now that it would not be easy for the male to take them into his mouth.
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