#196 Sulphurhead Aulonocara

Critically Endangered

Yet another fish where it could easily go extinct in the wild, but would probably still be around in aquariums. The main reason they are critically endangered is being exploited for the aquarium trade. Their populations have declined over 70% between the 1990's and 2005. They are what is called a mouth brooding species. The female holds their eggs in her mouth for about 3 weeks until they hatch, and she spits them out then. She often doesn't even eat the whole time. They get up to about 4 1/2 inches long, eat small invertebrates, and are endemic to Lake Malawi.


I am glad humans don't have to do something like mouth brooding. My kids were really easy. Well, sort of. I "wore" both of them pretty much non-stop when they were itty bitty. My oldest was happiest if I was holding him, refused to wear shoes for a couple years, and absolutely could not tolerate swaddling or feeling restricted. Thankfully the car seat didn't make him freak out because his arms and legs were still free. He is the only one of my two who ever threw a temper tantrum, and it really was my fault. He was really tired, but we stayed out at a potluck for a while still. He'd gotten a balloon, and lost it, and the replacement balloon wasn't the same colour, which was devastating for an extra tired toddler. My youngest didn't ever throw a tantrum, but he was more of a challenge. I figured out by the time he was about 3 months old that he was hyper-sensitive. Change in light, noise, and wind would essentially shut him down. He'd scream, not like a tantrum, but it sounded like pain. About the only thing that worked to calm him was to go into the bathroom, turn on the shower, fan, and sink to overload his system or something, and then he would gradually calm down. It took me many months to get him to where he could handle just being alive. I didn't even go into the backyard with him for a while. I would blow gently on him, like if you are trying to blow an eyelash off a cheek. That would make him gasp and struggle to breathe. I would walk from a room that had lights on but go into a room that had sunshine coming through a window and he'd stiffen up or cry in pain. It was exhausting, but it worked. By the time he went to pre-school, we did have to warn the school that he needed to be told ahead of time if they were going to have a fire drill because that would have been too much for him, but otherwise he was great. I felt so bad for him until we had gotten him over that. I'm so grateful that I was able to be home with him and realized what was going on, and was able to help him. Even still, I think of my kids as having been a breeze really. They are both kind, creative, loving, intelligent, and really just plain nice people. Sorry, proud mom here.

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