Evolutionary convergence of body shape and trophic morphology in cichlids from Lake Tanganyika

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:L. Rüber, Adams D. C.
Journal:Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Date Published:Mar
Accession Number:5109835
Keywords:Africa, Africa, Tanganyika L., Article Geographic, Article Subject Terms: Body measurements, Article Taxonomic Terms: Cichlidae, body shape, cichlids, convergence, D 04668 Fish, Dentition, DNA, Eretmodinae, Evolution, Functional morphology, G 07260 Taxonomy, systematics and evolutionary genetics, G 07371 Fish, Mitochondrial DNA, Morphometry, Mouth parts, Phylogenetics, phylogeny, Q1 01443 Population genetics, Specialization, Terms: Africa, Tanganyika L.

A recent phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences from eretmodine cichlids from Lake Tanganyika indicated independent origins of strikingly similar trophic specializations, such as dentition characters. Because genetic lineages with similar trophic morphologies were not monophyletic, but instead were grouped with lineages with different trophic phenotypes, raises the question of whether trophic morphology covaries with additional morphological characters. Here, we quantified morphological variation in body shape and trophically associated traits among eretmodine cichlids using linear measurements, meristic counts and landmark-based geometric morphometrics. A canonical variates analysis (CVA) delineated groups consistent with dentition characters. Multivariate regression and partial least squares analyses indicated that body shape was significantly associated with trophic morphology. When the phylogenetic relationships among taxa were taken into account using comparative methods, the covariation of body shape and trophic morphology persisted, indicating that phylogenetic relationships were not wholly responsible for the observed pattern. We hypothesize that trophic ecology may be a key factor promoting morphological differentiation, and postulate that similar body shape and feeding structures have evolved multiple times in independent lineages, enabling taxa to invade similar adaptive zones.

Alternate Journal:J. Evol. Biol.

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