Adult from Lake Chilingali
Rhamphochromis sp. 'chilingali' from Lake Chilingali [Malawi] in the aquarium [France].Photo by Patrick Tawil. (20-Feb-2010). determiner Patrick Tawil








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Rhamphochromis sp. 'chilingali'

Original reference as:

  • Genner, Martin & P. Nichols, G.R. Carvalho, R.L. Robinson, P.W. Shaw, A. Smith & G.F. Turner. 2007. "Evolution of a cichlid fish in a Lake Malawi satellite lake". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. v. 274(n. 1623), pp 2249–2257 (crc01924) (abstract)

Conservation: Rhamphochromis sp. 'chilingali' is not evaluated by the international union for the conservation of nature in the iucn red list of threatened species. It should probably be regarded as ‘Critically Endangered’ or perhaps event ‘Extinct’ in the wild. It is restricted to a small satellite lake, which is actively fished. Moreover, the lake has been actively stocked with tilapias for cage culture by government staff. Prior to the late 1960s, there were two small natural lakes linked by a stream, a tributary of the Kaombe River: Lake Chilingali to the south and Chikukuto to the north. A small concrete dam was constructed (variously claimed to be in the 1990s or 1970s) at the northern end of Chikukutu, apparently to provide a stable source of water for a rice irrigation scheme that never really took off. The result was the formation of a single larger lake, which was 5km long and 1km wide when surveyed in a few expeditions between 2004 and 2010. The lake was only 5m deep. The dam was not maintained and was in poor condition when last visited. Sometime since then, the dam finally broke, leading to a drastic drop in the lake level. This appears to have restored the natural situation, as two smaller lakes can now be seen on satellite images (e.g. Google Earth). However, lakes often silt up behind a dam wall, and as the artificial lake was only 5m deep, it is not clear if permanent lacustrine conditions still exist. There are other small lakes in the area, but these have apparently never been surveyed by taxonomically competent biologists, or at least none that have left records in the public domain.

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