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Paedophagy (literally meaning the "consumption of children") is the feeding behaviour of fish or other animals whose diet is partially, or primarily the eggs or larvae of other animals.[1][2][3] Various species of cichlid fish from Lake Malawi of the genera Caprichromis, Hemitaeniochromis, and Naevochromis are paedophages. In Lake Tanganyika species of the genus Haplotaxodon and possibly Greenwoodochromis bellcrossi may also be implicated in this sort of feeding strategy. [4] The orange chromide, (Etroplus maculatus) is also a paedophagous cichlid.[5]

Some paedophagus fish specialise in feeding on the young of mouthbrooding cichlids, ramming the buccal cavity of the mouthbrooder to dislodge, and then consume the eggs or larvae held within.[6]

See also

A Modest Proposal


  1. Nshombo M (1991) Occasional egg-eating by the scale-eater Plecodus straeleni (Cichlidae) of Lake Tanganyika Environmental Biology of Fishes 31:207-212.
  2. Ribbink AJ, Ribbink AC (1997) Paedophagia among cichlid fishes of Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi/Nyasa South African Journal of Science 93: 509-512.
  3. Wilhelm W (1980) The disputed feeding behavior of a paedophagous haplochromine cichlid (Pisces) observed and discussed Behaviour 74: 310-323.
  4. Konings A (2007) Paedophagy in Malawi cichlids. Cichlid News 16: 28-32
  5. Loiselle PV (1994) The Cichlid Aquarium, Voyageur Press, ISBN 1-56465-146-0
  6. McKaye KR, Kocher T (1983) Head ramming behaviour by three paedophagous cichlids in Lake Malawi, Africa. Animal Behaviour 31: 206-221

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