Female mate choice and species recognition between two closely related cichlid fish of Lake Malawi, Metriaclima estherae and M. callainos

By Nyalungu, Nonhlanhla P & V. Couldridge

Journal of Fish Biology, pp. epub (15-Apr-2020). DOI: 10.1111/jfb.14327


" Cichlids are one of the most diverse and colourful groups of freshwater fishes in the world. Despite much investigation, the factors that promote speciation in these fishes are still uncertain. However, previous studies suggest that sexual selection on male colour is one of the main drivers of speciation among these fishes. Metriaclima estherae is a polymorphic cichlid species from Lake Malawi, and thus provides an ideal model for the investigation of the importance of colour as a species recognition cue. M. callainos is a closely related and morphologically similar species, with male colour pattern very similar to that of M. estherae. We tested female choice by giving females of the two species a choice between conspecific and heterospecific males in the presence and absence of visual (colour) and chemical cues. The results show that females of M. callainos were able to reliably recognize conspecific males, even when colour was eliminated as a cue. However, females of M. estherae did not prefer conspecific males, although they were able to discriminate between red and blue conspecific colour morphs by using chemical cues. These results suggest that species recognition cues may differ even among closely related species of cichlid fish, and that female preferences for male coloration may be weak in certain species "

Classification: Behavior, Lake Malawi.

Language: English

Nyalungu, Nonhlanhla P & V. Couldridge. 2020. "Female mate choice and species recognition between two closely related cichlid fish of Lake Malawi, Metriaclima estherae and M. callainos". Journal of Fish Biology. pp. epub (crc09708) (abstract)