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.