Similar morphologies of cichlid fish in lakes tanganyika and malawi are due to convergence

Thomas D. Kocher, Janet A. Conroy, Kenneth R. McKaye, Jay Richard Stauffer, Jr.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

209 Scopus citations

Abstract

The species flocks of cichlid fishes in the lakes of East Africa are the most spectacular example of adaptive radiation among living vertebrates. Similar highly derived morphologies are found among species in different lakes. These similarities have been variously interpreted either as evidence for migration of ancestral species between the lakes, or of striking convergence of morphology. To distinguish among these competing hypotheses we sequenced a portion of the mitochondrial DNA control region from six pairs of morphologically similar taxa from Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika. Our results clearly indicate a separate origin of these morphologies in the two lakes. They also suggest that the Tanganyikan radiation is relatively old, and that the species flocks in lakes Malawi and Victoria are derived from one of the ancient lineages found in Lake Tanganyika. These findings have important implications for understanding the pattern of morphological and behavioral evolution in these fish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-165
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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