Tobler (2005) reported a death feigning hunting strategy in Parachromis friedrichsthalii in the Cenote Escondido near Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula in México. Similarly to Nimbochromis livingstonii (Cichlidae) from Lake Malawi in Africa, the P. friedrichsthalii lie on their sides and trick small scavenging fish into their reach, which are attacked when they come too close. Please see the full version of the paper as pdf. Juan Miguel Artigas Azas could not find death feigning P. friedrichsthalii when he visited the Cenote Escondido in 2006 (personal communication).
I'd be very interested in further observations on this topic. Especially, following questions could be addressed in the future:
- Quantitative assessment of this behavior: How much time are individuals feigning death? How efficient is this hunting strategy? Are all individuals in this population hunting in this manner? Are there alternative strategies (death feigning individuals were always relatively large, what about the juveniles and subadults)?
- Distribution of this hunting strategy: Are there other populations of P. friedrichsthalii hunting in this manner? What about other predatory species in clear water habitats: Petenia? "C" urophthalmus?
© Copyright 2007 Michi Tobler, all rights reserved
Tobler, Michi. (January 20, 2007). "Death feigning in Parachromis friedrichsthalii". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from: https://www.cichlidae.com/section.php?id=30.