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Old 07-30-2015
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Default Tropheus Duboisi Maswa, Ad Konings article

As our opening Article, on our new efforts to curb extraction of endangered species from Lake Tanganyika, I asked the GURU, Ad Konings to write for us. The article below is the first of many, that we will post from Ad.

Endangered cichlids of Lake Tanganyika-Ad Konings

Maswa Duboisi

The cichlid at most risk of extinction is the so-called Maswa Duboisi. This particular form was discovered about 40 years ago by Pierre Brichard near a place known from old maps as Maswa. It is the name of an old fortress, later monastery, located on the shore south of the Malagarasi Delta, though nothing of it now remains. Since its introduction into the hobby late 1950s, Tropheus duboisi has always been an extremely popular cichlid mainly because of it polka-dotted juveniles.

The species is very old, estimated at about 2 million years, and seems less capable of holding territory in the prime rocky habitat as other members of the genus. We therefore find only a few relict populations of this species in the northern half of the lake. By extracting major numbers of this species from such surviving populations, we likely push this cichlid quickly to extinction. This has nearly happened with the Maswa Duboisi which used to live at a few select places around Cape Kabogo.

The initially discovered population was virtually wiped out by the end of the previous century and after I found another population near Halembe also that population is nearly gone. T. duboisi is very slowly regenerating species that usually spawns just two times a year when it produces on average nine young. The challenges juvenile cichlids face in the lake are such that almost none of these juveniles make it to maturity. The adults are already challenged by the presence of more successful members of the genus, so that over-collecting this species is a lose lose situation.

There is absolutely no need to extract this species from the wild as it is bred in quantities far greater than can be found in the lake. So, to completely stop collecting the Maswa variant of T. duboisi is a no-brainer. Photos by Ad Konings!
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