Recent speciation between sympatric Tanganyikan cichlid colour morphs

Wagner, Catherine; McCune, Amy R.; Lovette, Irby J. (2012). Recent speciation between sympatric Tanganyikan cichlid colour morphs. Molecular Ecology, 21(13), pp. 3283-3292. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05607.x

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Lake Tanganyika, Africa’s oldest lake, harbours an impressive diversity of cichlid fishes. Although diversification in its radiating groups is thought to have been initially rapid, cichlids from Lake Tanganyika show little evidence for ongoing speciation. In contrast, examples of recent divergence among sympatric colour morphs are well known in haplochromine cichlids from Lakes Malawi and Victoria. Here, we report genetic evidence for recent divergence between two sympatric Tanganyikan cichlid colour morphs. These Petrochromis morphs share mitochondrial haplotypes, yet microsatellite loci reveal that their sympatric populations form distinct genetic groups. Nuclear divergence between the two morphs is equivalent to that which arises geographically within one of the morphs over short distances and is substantially smaller than that among other sympatric species in this genus. These patterns suggest that these morphs diverged only recently, yet that barriers to gene flow exist which prevent extensive admixture despite their sympatric distribution. The morphs studied here provide an unusual example of active diversification in Lake Tanganyika’s generally ancient cichlid fauna and enable comparisons of speciation processes between Lake Tanganyika and other African lakes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Aquatic Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Wagner, Catherine


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)








Marcel Häsler

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2014 14:39

Last Modified:

01 Sep 2015 15:57

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

assortative mating, cichlid, colour morph, Lake Tanganyika, speciation




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