The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

Seehausen, O. 1997. Distribution of and reproductive isolation among color morphs of a rock-dwelling Lake Victoria cichlid (Haplochromis nyererei). Ecology of Freshwater Fish 6 (1): 57-?. [not seen; citation to be verified]  

The geographical and macro- and microhabitat distribution of and mate recognition among color morphs of a complex of Lake Victoria cichlids were studied. The distribution of most morphs was mutually exclusive, but two morphs overlapped extensively and differed only in microhabitat requirements. Coloration differences between them were inherited, and wild fishes were homozygous in this respect. Positive morph-assortative female mate choice was demonstrated. Over the largest part of their common geographical range, intermediate phenotypes are absent and the two morphs are to be considered two biological species. However, in populations at one end of the range, intermediate phenotypes with continuously varying male coloration make up the majority of the individuals. It is suggested that the status of color morphs as phenotypes of one species or as separate biological species is a function of environmental conditions that vary considerably between the localities. The data support the hypothesis that polymorphisms can be a step preceding speciation in cichlid fish.




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