Genetic relationships of cichlid fishes from Lake Malawi based on mitochondrial DNA sequences
The purpose of this study was to estimate the genetic distance, diversity and relationship of two large groups of Malawian cichlid, ‘mbuna’ living in rocky area and feeding on algae, and ‘non-mbuna’ in sandy area feeding on various items. A total of 78 species from 42 genera was determined for the DNA sequence of the mitochondrial control region. In a genetic tree, constructed with Kimura-2 parameter as a distance by NJ method, mbuna created only one group whereas non-mbuna created four groups by a single or multiple genera. Some genera, such as Campsochromis and Labeotropheus with no genetic diversity within genus constructed a small congeneric clade, suggesting genetic homogeneity. In contrast, some genera, such as Otopharynx and Placidochromis with a high genetic diversity, participated in multiple groups including mbuna and non-mbuna, suggesting genetic heterogeneity. The largest Group A, exclusively composed by non-mbuna, showed an apparently high average genetic distance whereas Group D, in which all mbuna participated, showed an apparently low average genetic distance. It was suggested that non-mbuna have attained much higher diversification than mbuna. This different diversification may partly be attributable to sexual selection strongly exerted in rocky habitats in contrast to strong ecological selection in sandy area.
KeywordsCichlids Sexual selection Ecological selection Lake Malawi Mitochondrial DNA
The authors would like to thank Mr. N. Yoshikawa, N. Nakamura, T. Kushida and Ms. E. Yamashita for rearing and feeding the Cichlid Fishes. First author gratefully acknowledges to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, for providing the financial support through Japanese Government (MONBUKAGAKUSHO: MEXT) Scholarship. The experiments comply with the current laws of the country.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Arnegard ME, Markert JA, Danley PD, Stauffer JR, Ambali AJ, Kocher TD (1999) Population structure and colour variation of the cichlid fish Labeotropheus fuelleborni Ahl along a recently formed archipelago of rocky habitat patches in southern Lake Malawi. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 266:119–130. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1999.0611 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Axelrod HR (1993) The most complete colored lexicon of cichlids. TFH Publications, Neptune CityGoogle Scholar
- Fryer G (1959) The trophic interrelationships and ecology of some littoral communities of lake Nyasa with especial reference to the fishes, and a discussion of the evolution of a group of rock-frequenting Cichlidae. J Zool 132:153–281. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1959.tb05521.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fryer G, Iles TD (1972) The cichlid fishes of the great lakes of Africa: their biology and evolution. Oliver & Boyd, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
- Genner MJ, Turner GF (2005) The mbuna cichlids of Lake Malawi: a model for rapid speciation and adaptive radiation. Fish Fish 6:1–34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1959.tb05521.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hasegawa M, Kishino H (1996) Molecular phylogeny. Iwanami Press, Tokyo (in Japanese) Google Scholar
- Helfman GS, Collette BB, Facey DE, Bowen BW (2010) The diversity of fishes. Biology, evolution and ecology. Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley, West SussexGoogle Scholar
- Horie (1990) Back to the nature. In: Fish magazine. Midori Shobo, Tokyo, pp 73–75 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
- Konings A (1990) Ad Konings's book of Cichlids and all the other fishes of lake Malawi. TFH Publications, Neptune CityGoogle Scholar
- Konings A (2001) Malawi cichlids in their natural habitat, 3rd edn. Cichlid Press, El PasoGoogle Scholar
- Konings A (2007) Malawi Cichlids in their natural habitat, 4th edn. Cichlid Press, El PasoGoogle Scholar
- McKaye KR, Kocher TD, Reinthal PN, Harrison R, Kornfield I (1984) Genetic evidence for allopatric and sympatric differentiation among color morphs of a Lake Malawi cichlid fish. Evolution 38:215–219. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1558-5646.1984.tb00273.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Sakurai A (1996) The world of cichlids. Midori Shobo Co., Ltd., Tokyo (in Japanese) Google Scholar
- Sturmbauer C, Baric S, Salzburger W, Rüber L, Verheyen E (2001) Lake level fluctuations synchronize genetic divergences of cichlid fishes in African Lakes. Mol Biol Evol 18:144–154. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a003788 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Thompson JD, Higgins DG, Gibson TJ (1994) CLUSTAL W: improving the sensitivity of progressive multiple sequence alignment through sequence weighting, position-specific gap penalties and weight matrix choice. Nucleic Acids Res 22:4673–4680. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msr121 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Turner GF (1999) Explosive speciation of African cichlid fishes. In: Magurran AE, May RM (eds) Evolution of biological diversity. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 113–129Google Scholar