Local variation and parallel evolution: morphological and genetic diversity across a species complex of Neotropical crater lake cichlid fishes

Kathryn R Elmer, Henrik Kusche, Topi K Lehtonen, Axel Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The polychromatic and trophically polymorphic Midas cichlid fish species complex (Amphilophus cf. citrinellus) is an excellent model system for studying the mechanisms of speciation and patterns of phenotypic diversification in allopatry and in sympatry. Here, we first review research to date on the species complex and the geological history of its habitat. We analyse body shape variation from all currently described species in the complex, sampled from six crater lakes (maximally 1.2-23.9 kyr old) and both great lakes in Nicaragua. We find that Midas cichlid populations in each lake have their own characteristic body shape. In lakes with multiple sympatric species of Midas cichlid, each species has a distinct body shape. Across the species complex, most body shape change relates to body depth, head, snout and mouth shape and caudal peduncle length. There is independent parallel evolution of an elongate limnetic species in at least two crater lakes. Mitochondrial genetic diversity is higher in crater lakes with multiple species. Midas cichlid species richness increases with the size and age of the crater lakes, though no such relationship exists for the other syntopic fishes. We suggest that crater lake Midas cichlids follow the predicted pattern of an adaptive radiation, with early divergence of each crater lake colonization, followed by intralacustrine diversification and speciation by ecological adaptation and sexual selection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1763 - 1782
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume365
Issue number1547
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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