Article

Monogamy in the maternally mouthbrooding Lake Tanganyika cichlid fish Tropheus moorii.

Department of Zoology, University of Graz, Austria.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.68). 08/2006; 273(1595):1797-802. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3504
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Supported by evidence for assortative mating and polygynandry, sexual selection through mate choice was suggested as the main force driving the evolution of colour diversity of haplochromine cichlids in Lakes Malawi and Victoria. The phylogenetically closely related tribe Tropheini of Lake Tanganyika includes the genus Tropheus, which comprises over 100 colour variants currently classified into six morphologically similar, polyphyletic species. To assess the potential for sexual selection in this sexually monochromatic maternal mouthbrooder, we used microsatellite-based paternity inference to investigate the mating system of Tropheus moorii. In contrast to haplochromines in Lake Malawi, multiple paternity is rare or even absent in broods of T. moorii. Eighteen of the 19 analysed families were consistent with genetic monogamy, while either a mutation or more than one sire explained the genotype of one offspring in another brood. We discuss the differences in breeding behaviour between T. moorii and the Lake Malawi haplochromines, and evaluate additional factors or alternatives to sexual selection as promoters of colour diversification. A preliminary survey of other Tropheini species suggested that multiple paternity is infrequent in the entire tribe.

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