Colour variation in cichlid fish: Developmental mechanisms, selective pressures and evolutionary consequences

Martine E. Maan*, Kristina M. Sefc

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Cichlid fishes constitute one of the most species-rich families of vertebrates. In addition to complex social behaviour and morphological versatility, they are characterised by extensive diversity in colouration, both within and between species. Here, we review the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying colour variation in this group and the selective pressures responsible for the observed variation. We specifically address the evidence for the hypothesis that divergence in colouration is associated with the evolution of reproductive isolation between lineages. While we conclude that cichlid colours are excellent models for understanding the role of animal communication in species divergence, we also identify taxonomic and methodological biases in the current research effort. We suggest that the integration of genomic approaches with ecological and behavioural studies, across the entire cichlid family and beyond it, will contribute to the utility of the cichlid model system for understanding the evolution of biological diversity. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-528
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Cell & Developmental Biology
Volume24
Issue number6-7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Cichlidae
  • Natural selection
  • Pigmentation
  • Polymorphism
  • Sexual selection
  • Speciation
  • LAKE MALAWI CICHLIDS
  • ROCK-DWELLING CICHLIDS
  • MALE-MALE COMPETITION
  • MALE REPRODUCTIVE SUCCESS
  • FEMALE MATE CHOICE
  • MALE NUPTIAL COLOR
  • LOWER CONGO RAPIDS
  • OPSIN GENE ARRAYS
  • SEXUAL-SELECTION
  • SYMPATRIC SPECIATION

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