Colour-assortative mating among populations of Tropheus moorii, a cichlid fish from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa

Salzburger,W.; Niederstätter,H.; Brandstätter,A.; Berger,B.; Parson,W.; Snoeks,J.; Sturmbauer,C.
The species flocks of cichlid fishes in the East African Lakes Tanganyika, Malawi and Victoria are prime examples of adaptive radiation and explosive speciation. Several hundreds of endemic species have evolved in each of the lakes over the past several thousands to a few millions years. Sexual selection via colour-assortative mating has often been proposed as a probable causal factor for initiating and maintaining reproductive isolation. Here, we report the consequences of human-mediated admixis among differentially coloured populations of the endemic cichlid fish Tropheus moorii from several localities that have accidentally been put in sympatry in a small harbour bay in the very south of Lake Tanganyika. We analysed the phenotypes (coloration) and genotypes (mitochondrial control region and five microsatellite loci) of almost 500 individuals, sampled over 3 consecutive years. Maximum-likelihood-based parenthood analyses and Bayesian inference of population structure revealed that significantly more juveniles are the product of within-colour-morph matings than could be expected under the assumption of random mating. Our results clearly indicate a marked degree of assortative mating with respect to the different colour morphs. Therefore, we postulate that sexual selection based on social interactions and female mate choice has played an important role in the formation and maintenance of the different colour morphs in Tropheus, and is probably common in other maternally mouthbrooding cichlids as well
Proc.Biol.Sci 2006 273(1584):257-266
Tags: Africa; alleles; assortative mating; chemistry; Cichlids; Color; control region; DNA; Evolution,Molecular; EXPLOSIVE SPECIATION; female; Fresh Water; genetics; genotype; Germany; growth & development; Lake Tanganyika; loci; male; MICROSATELLITE LOCI; Microsatellite Repeats; mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA; Phenotype; phylogeny; physiology; Pigmentation; population; Selection (Genetics); Sequence Alignment; sequence analysis; sexual selection; small; Tropheus moorii; Zambia
PubMed: 16543167
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