Michi Tobler, 2005
Cichlid Room Companion
Focus Central America

Death feigning in Parachromis friedrichsthalii

By , 2007. image
Last updated on 20-Jan-2007

Classification: Behavior, Central and North America.

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?
Death feigning Death feigning in Parachromis multifasciatus in the Cenote Escondido near Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. a behavior first observed in this fish by Michi Tobler. Photo by Michi Tobler. determiner Juan Miguel Artigas Azas


Tobler, Michi. (Jan 20, 2007). "Death feigning in Parachromis friedrichsthalii". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on Dec 01, 2023, from:

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