Ecological studies on crater lakes in West Cameroon Lakes Kotto and Mboandong



Lake Kotto is a shallow crater lake, sometimes weakly stratified, and with a dense phytoplankton dominated by blue-green algae. The ecology of Lake Kotto and the similar, smaller lake Mboandong is described in relation to the feeding biology of their fishes. Of the five species of cichlids in Lake Kotto only one is endemic. Two are phytoplankton-feeders, one takes invertebrates as well as phytoplankton, one feeds mainly on chironomid larvae, and one preys on vertebrates as well as on invertebrates. The three phytoplanktivores are the main species eaten by man. One species of Clarias and one of Barbus also occur in Lake Kotto; and in the associated streams are four species of cyprinodont fishes. The fish fauna of Mboandong consists of three species of cichlids and two cyprinodonts, all known from the Kotto system. We contrast Lake Kotto with the oligotrophic lake Barombi Mbo, and conclude that Lake Kotto would probably be less sensitive to human interference than would Barombi Mbo.