Phenotypic plasticity: Its role in trophic radiation and explosive speciation in cichlids (Teleostei: Cichlidae)

Jay Richard Stauffer, Jr., Ellen van Snik Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity is the capacity of an organism's phenotype to vary in different environments. Although diet-induced phenotypic plasticity has been documented in New World cichlids, it has been hypothesised that this type of plasticity would be limited in certain Old World cichlids, because of the morphological constraints on the jaw imposed by mouth-brooding. This hypothesis was experimentally tested by determining the effect of different diets on the head and jaw morphology of split broods of several species of haplochromine cichlids from Lake Malaŵi, Africa, and two substrate-spawning cichlids, one from the Old World, Tilapia mariae (Boulenger), and one from the New World, Herichthys cyanoguttatum (Baird and Girard). Different feeding regimes resulted in differences in head morphologies in both New and Old World cichlid species. Although Old World mouth-brooding haplochromine cichlids exhibited phenotypic plasticity, the magnitude of head-shape plasticity observed was greater in the New World substrate-spawning cichlid, H. cyanoguttatum. The Old World tilapiine cichlid, T. mariae, did not exhibit phenotypic plasticity of head morphology. Experiments with modified foods demonstrated that the observed changes were unrelated to dietary nutrition, but were a result of differing feeding modes. Phenotypic plasticity might have contributed to the extensive trophic radiation and subsequent explosive speciation observed in Old World haplochromine cichlids. The existence of phenotypic plasticity has implications for morphology-based species descriptions as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-158
Number of pages22
JournalAnimal Biology
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004

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Cichlidae
phenotypic plasticity
explosive
plasticity
spawning
diet
jaws
substrate
mouth
Tilapia (Cichlidae)
radiation
phenotype
nutrition
food
lake
world
lakes
experiment
organisms

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

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abstract = "Phenotypic plasticity is the capacity of an organism's phenotype to vary in different environments. Although diet-induced phenotypic plasticity has been documented in New World cichlids, it has been hypothesised that this type of plasticity would be limited in certain Old World cichlids, because of the morphological constraints on the jaw imposed by mouth-brooding. This hypothesis was experimentally tested by determining the effect of different diets on the head and jaw morphology of split broods of several species of haplochromine cichlids from Lake Malaŵi, Africa, and two substrate-spawning cichlids, one from the Old World, Tilapia mariae (Boulenger), and one from the New World, Herichthys cyanoguttatum (Baird and Girard). Different feeding regimes resulted in differences in head morphologies in both New and Old World cichlid species. Although Old World mouth-brooding haplochromine cichlids exhibited phenotypic plasticity, the magnitude of head-shape plasticity observed was greater in the New World substrate-spawning cichlid, H. cyanoguttatum. The Old World tilapiine cichlid, T. mariae, did not exhibit phenotypic plasticity of head morphology. Experiments with modified foods demonstrated that the observed changes were unrelated to dietary nutrition, but were a result of differing feeding modes. Phenotypic plasticity might have contributed to the extensive trophic radiation and subsequent explosive speciation observed in Old World haplochromine cichlids. The existence of phenotypic plasticity has implications for morphology-based species descriptions as well.",
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Phenotypic plasticity : Its role in trophic radiation and explosive speciation in cichlids (Teleostei: Cichlidae). / Stauffer, Jr., Jay Richard; van Snik Gray, Ellen.

In: Animal Biology, Vol. 54, No. 2, 01.06.2004, p. 137-158.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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