Hypoxia tolerance of two haplochromine cichlids: swamp leakage and potential for interlacustrine dispersal

Par Melnychuk, Michael C & L.J. Chapman

Environmental Biology of Fishes, v. 65, pp. 99–110 (2002)


" The ability to tolerate hypoxia in some haplochromine cichlid fishes contributes to the richness of habitats occupied by the lineage and may be important in interlacustrine dispersal through swampy channels. Lacustrine members of the genus Astatotilapia tend to be ecologically plastic but are rarely encountered in the interior of dense swamps. A notable exception is seen in the swamp corridor that joins Lake Kabaleka with Lake George, Uganda, where one species (Astatotilapia ‘wrought-iron’) is abundant, and a second species, A. aeneocolor, is rare. Both species are abundant in the open waters of the main lake. In this paper, we compare physiological (oxygen consumption) and behavioral indicators of hypoxia tolerance between A. ‘wrought-iron’ from swamp and open-water habitats and between the two species of Astatotilapia. When exposed to progressive hypoxia, all fish used aquatic surface respiration (ASR); however, swamp-dwelling A. ‘wrought-iron’ showed lower gill ventilation rates prior to the initiation of ASR, higher pre-ASR aggression rates, higher swimming speed during ASR, and a higher rate of bubble exchange than both the open-water group of A. ‘wrought-iron’ and A. aeneocolor. These differences may reflect interpopulational variation in selection pressure for low-oxygen tolerance between swamp and open-water habitats. Several lines of evidence suggest that A. ‘wrought-iron’ was in general more hypoxia tolerant than A. aeneocolor. These include a lower ASR90 threshold, a drop in gill ventilation rate with the onset of ASR, and lower rate of equilibrium loss under extreme hypoxia in A. ‘wrought-iron’. The routine metabolic rate and critical oxygen tension did not differ between swamp-dwelling and open-water A. ‘wrought-iron’, or between A. ‘wrought-iron’ and A. aeneocolor. Comparative data on the ASR thresholds and critical oxygen tensions of the Astatotilapia species from Lake Kabaleka and other East African cichlids suggest intermediate hypoxia tolerance. Nevertheless, our study suggests that some generalized lacustrine haplochromines may ‘leak’ through swamp corridors even under relatively extreme conditions "

Classement: Physiologie et maladies, Lac Victoria.

Langue: English

Melnychuk, Michael C & L.J. Chapman. 2002. "Hypoxia tolerance of two haplochromine cichlids: swamp leakage and potential for interlacustrine dispersal". Environmental Biology of Fishes. v. 65, pp. 99–110 (crc05097) (résumé)