Local adaptations in populations of rock-dwelling haplochromines (Pisces:Cichlidae) from southern Lake Victoria

Bouton, N.; Witte, F.; Alphen, J. J. M. v.; Schenk, A.; Seehausen, Ole (1999). Local adaptations in populations of rock-dwelling haplochromines (Pisces:Cichlidae) from southern Lake Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Series B - biological sciences, 266(1417), pp. 355-360. Royal Society of London 10.1098/rspb.1999.0645

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The radiation of cichlid fishes in the African great lakes is often described as adaptive, because, at a superficial level, cichlid fishes seem adapted to the ecological niches they occupy. However, adaptiveness has rarely been studied. We investigated to what extent island populations of three species of the rock-dwelling genus Neochromis, endemic to Lake Victoria, are adapted anatomically to exploit locally abundant resources. Specifically, we asked whether different resource environments were reflected in differences in the feeding apparatus, both within species and between species. In populations of two specialized biters, the algae scrapers N. rufocaudalis and N. omnicaeruleus, the biting force of the lower jaw increased with increasing amount of items that require biting in the diet. N. greenwoodi is a less specialized biter; we found differences between two populations in the hyoid position and in the premaxilla that enhance suction feeding. These adaptations were related to the amount of items requiring suction. Comparing across three sympatric pairs of species, in each case different diets were reflected in differences in anatomy.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Seehausen, Ole


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Royal Society of London




Marcel Häsler

Date Deposited:

04 Sep 2015 11:25

Last Modified:

04 Sep 2015 11:25

Publisher DOI:






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