Frequency-dependent natural selection in the handedness of scale-eating cichlid fish

By Hori, Michio

Science, v. 260(n. 5105), pp. 216-219 09-Apr-1993


" Frequency-dependent natural selection has been cited as a mechanism for maintaining polymorphisms in biological populations, although the process has not been documented conclusively in field study. Here, it is demonstrated that the direction of mouth-opening (either left-handed or right-handed) in scale-eating cichlid fish of Lake Tanganyika is determined on the basis of simple genetics and that the abundance of individuals with left- or right-handedness depends on frequency-dependent natural selection. Attacking from behind, right-handed individuals snatched scales from the prey's left flank and left-handed ones from the right flank. Within a given population, the frequency of the two phenotypes oscillated around unity. This phenomenon was effected through frequency-dependent selection exerted by the prey's alertness. Thus, individuals of the rare phenotype had more success as predators than those of the more common phenotype "

Classification: Genes and genetics, Lake Tanganyika.

Language: English

Hori, Michio. 1993. "Frequency-dependent natural selection in the handedness of scale-eating cichlid fish". Science. v. 260(n. 5105), pp. 216-219 (crc06531) (abstract)