The Adaptive Radiation of Cichlid Fish in Lake Tanganyika: A Morphological PerspectiveReport as inadecuate

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International Journal of Evolutionary BiologyVolume 2011 2011, Article ID 620754, 14 pages

Review Article

Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa-Oiwake, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan

Department of Zoology, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria

Received 30 December 2010; Accepted 21 February 2011

Academic Editor: R. Craig Albertson

Copyright © 2011 Tetsumi Takahashi and Stephan Koblmüller. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lake Tanganyika is the oldest of the Great Ancient Lakes in the East Africa. This lake harbours about 250 species of cichlid fish, which are highly diverse in terms of morphology, behaviour, and ecology. Lake Tanganyika-s cichlid diversity has evolved through explosive speciation and is treated as a textbook example of adaptive radiation, the rapid differentiation of a single ancestor into an array of species that differ in traits used to exploit their environments and resources. To elucidate the processes and mechanisms underlying the rapid speciation and adaptive radiation of Lake Tanganyika-s cichlid species assemblage it is important to integrate evidence from several lines of research. Great efforts have been, are, and certainly will be taken to solve the mystery of how so many cichlid species evolved in so little time. In the present review, we summarize morphological studies that relate to the adaptive radiation of Lake Tanganyika-s cichlids and highlight their importance for understanding the process of adaptive radiation.

Author: Tetsumi Takahashi and Stephan Koblmüller



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