Intraspecific sexual selection on a speciation trait, male coloration, in the Lake Victoria cichlid Pundamilia nyererei

Maan, Martine E.; Seehausen, Ole; Soderberg, Linda; Johnson, Lisa; Ripmeester, Erwin A. P.; Mrosso, Hillary D. J.; Taylor, Martin I.; van Dooren, Tom J. M.; van Alphen, Jacques J. M. (2004). Intraspecific sexual selection on a speciation trait, male coloration, in the Lake Victoria cichlid Pundamilia nyererei. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Series B - biological sciences, 271(1556), pp. 2445-2452. Royal Society of London 10.1098/rspb.2004.2911

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The haplochromine cichlids of Lake Victoria constitute a classical example of explosive speciation. Extensive intra– and interspecific variation in male nuptial coloration and female mating preferences, in the absence of postzygotic isolation between species, has inspired the hypothesis that sexual selection has been a driving force in the origin of this species flock. This hypothesis rests on the premise that the phenotypic traits that underlie behavioural reproductive isolation between sister species diverged under sexual selection within a species. We test this premise in a Lake Victoria cichlid, by using laboratory experiments and field observations. We report that a male colour trait, which has previously been shown to be important for behavioural reproductive isolation between this species and a close relative, is under directional sexual selection by female mate choice within this species. This is consistent with the hypothesis that female choice has driven the divergence in male coloration between the two species. We also find that male territoriality is vital for male reproductive success and that multiple mating by females is common.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Maan, Martine; Seehausen, Ole and Ripmeester, Erwin


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Royal Society of London




Marcel Häsler

Date Deposited:

05 Sep 2014 11:38

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2014 22:02

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

colour evolution, cichlid fish, mate choice, Pundamilia nyererei, sexual selection, speciation




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