Adaptive radiation of Lake Tana's (Ethiopia) Labeobarbus species flock (Pisces, Cyprinidae)

M. de Graaf, E. Dejen, J.W.M. Osse, F.A. Sibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studying species flocks (e.g. Darwin¿s finches, Caribbean anoline lizards, East African cichlid fishes) has proven to be highly successful in understanding the forces driving speciation. The only known, intact species flock of cyprinid fishes, the 15 Labeobarbus species in Lake Tana (Ethiopia), includes eight piscivorous species. Piscivory is a rare specialisation among the highly successful (>2000 species) but mostly benthivorous Cyprinidae. The extent and mechanisms of diversification of this remarkable Labeobarbus species flock, particularly among the unexpected piscivorous species, are still largely unknown. In the present study we demonstrate that all 15 Labeobarbus species are segregated to a great extent along spatial, trophic and/or temporal dimensions. The spatial distribution, diet (prey species but not prey size), time of active feeding and predation techniques differed significantly among the eight piscivores. Lake Tana¿s cyprinids displayed their retained potential for ecological diversification and speciation, including the uncommon specialisation of piscivory. The latter is probably a result of the absence of common African specialist piscivores in Lake Tana. We suggest that the evolution of Lake Tana¿s Labeobarbus species flock at this stage is predominantly structured by ecological selection models. The labeobarbs most likely underwent sequential stages of radiation and speciation: habitat divergence followed by trophic divergence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-407
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Volume59
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • late pleistocene desiccation
  • tropical fish assemblage
  • cichlid fishes
  • barbs barbus
  • east-africa
  • reproductive segregation
  • ecological divergence
  • victoria
  • speciation
  • origin

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