Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 64, Issue 1–3, pp 97–114 | Cite as

Diversification, Sympatric Speciation, and Trophic Polymorphism of Arctic Charr, Salvelinus Alpinus Complex, in Transbaikalia

  • Sergey S. Alekseyev
  • Vitalii P. Samusenok
  • Arkadii N. Matveev
  • Mikhail Yu. Pichugin

Abstract

In northern Transbaikalia, independently evolving landlocked populations of Arctic charr are found in mountain lakes. To assess the diversity of charr in this region, speciation modes involved in the evolution of charr forms, and the role of trophic polymorphism in their divergence, we studied the morphology and feeding of dwarf, small, and large forms of Arctic charr from a number of Transbaikalian lakes. Meristic data on charr from five lakes support the earlier conclusion that the three forms do not represent separate lineages but have independently diverged in sympatry in each of the lakes. In 10 lakes, the dwarf form showed varying degrees of differentiation from normal (small and large) charr in meristic characters (up to morphologically distinct and presumably reproductively isolated groupings), which is viewed as various levels of sympatric divergence. Indexes of gill raker length in fish from 20 lakes vary among populations of both dwarf and normal charr, with forms having short and long rakers being sympatric in some of these lakes. However, the index can be used only for comparing charr of different forms up to about 32 cm fork length (FL) because it is strongly negatively correlated with size in larger fish. The study of charr diets in 21 lakes indicates that large charr are piscivorous whereas dwarf and small charr feed on a wide range of invertebrates, partitioning these resources in different ways. Planktivores, including very specialized ones, and non-planktivores (benthic feeders, insectivores) can be identified within the small and dwarf forms. The proportion of plankton in the diets of dwarf and small charr is positively correlated with the number and length of gill rakers while the proportion of benthos is negatively correlated. Allopatric planktivorous and non-planktivorous small charr differ in body proportions; parallel emergence of such morphotypes in different parts of the range is a characteristic feature of the Salvelinus alpinus complex.

Salmonidae microevolution Baikal Pleistocene morphology meristic characters gill rakers body proportions feeding planktivorous 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergey S. Alekseyev
    • 1
  • Vitalii P. Samusenok
    • 2
  • Arkadii N. Matveev
    • 2
  • Mikhail Yu. Pichugin
    • 3
  1. 1.Kol'tsov Institute of Developmental BiologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Faculty of Biology and Soil BiologyIrkutsk State UniversityIrkutskRussia
  3. 3.Faculty of BiologyMoscow State University, Vorob'evy GoryMoscowRussia

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