The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi, Africa

Abstract of Publication

McKaye, K.R., J.H. Howard, J.R. Stauffer, Jr., R.P. Morgan, II, and F. Shonhiwa. 1993. Sexual selection and genetic relationships of a sibling species complex of bower building cichlids in Lake Malawi, Africa. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 40 (1): 15-21.  

Protein electromorphs of five taxa of the sand dwelling genus Tramitichromis from Lake Malawi were examined by starch-gel electrophoresis. Twenty-four enzyme loci were examined. No diagnostic alleles were discovered which distinguished the different taxa; however, nine loci were polymorphic in at least one taxa with unbiased mean heterozygosities ranging from 6.9 to 12.6%. The bower form of these five taxa, which earlier have been referred to as sibling species was also analyzed. Results from this study provide evidence that bower form in these cichlid taxa is correlated with genetic distance measurements. The data suggest that the taxa are isolated 'sibling' species, which recently diverged, or that they are 'incipient' species with minimal gene flow between bower building morphs. The congruence of the allozyme data suggests a genetic basis for bower form. Variation in bower form is hypothesized to arise from nonadaptive differences in female choice, which leads to reproductively isolated species as predicted by Fisher's model of runaway sexual selection.




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