Descriptive Genetics of Cichlid Fishes

  • Irv Kornfield
Part of the Monographs in Evolutionary Biology book series (MEBI)


The evolutionary biology of cichlids is unusual principally because of the extensive adaptive radiations that have occurred in many endemic complexes (Futuyma, 1979). Within the major lakes of East Africa (Fryer and Iles, 1972) and smaller lacustrine systems in both Old and New Worlds (Taylor and Minckley, 1966; Trewavas et al., 1972; Barlow, 1976; Taylor and Miller, 1982), endemic species display dramatic morphological and ecological adaptations. Prodigious numbers of endemic species occur in Lake Malawi (N = 500+; McKaye and MacKenzie, 1982; McKaye, personal communication), Lake Tanganyika (N = 150+; Bailey and Stewart, 1977), and Lake Victoria (N = 300+; Van Oijen et al., 1981). The apparent youth of many species in some of these systems presents at least two fundamental evolutionary questions: first, what mechanisms control divergence in ecology and functional morphology? and second, how do new species arise? While substantial insights have been made in the areas of functional anatomy and ecology by Barel et al. (1977), Greenwood (1981), Liem (1980), McKaye (1980), and their coworkers, the basic questions of trophic divergence and speciation have remained controversial (Sage and Selander, 1975; McKaye, 1980; Kornfield et al.,1982; McKaye et al., 1983; Trewavas, 1982; Dominey, 1984; Greenwood, 1984).


Reproductive Isolation Color Morph Diploid Number Cichlid Fish Multiple Paternity 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irv Kornfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and Migratory Fish Research InstituteUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

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