The zoogeography, ecology and taxonomy of the genus Labeotropheus Ahl, 1927, of Lake Malawi (Pisces: Cichlidae)

By Ribbink, Anthony J & A.C. Marsh, B.A. Marsh, B.J. Sharp

Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 79(n. 3), pp. 223–243 (Nov-1983). DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.1983.tb01166.x


" Two species of Labeotropheus are currently recognized, but an earlier study of aquarium specimens caused doubt to be cast upon their specific distinctness. This doubt was removed by a field and laboratory study which showed that L. fuelleborni differed from L. trewavasae morphologically, in coloration, in geographic distribution, preferred habitat and ability to penetrate depth. The two species practise assortative mating.
Labeotropheus fuelleborni feeds predominantly from upper surfaces of rocks while L. trewavasae favours under surfaces. Although both species are specialized to crop epilithic algae they also feed secondarily on other food resources (e.g. plankton, insects) when these are available.
Gene flow between many populations of rock-frequenting cichlids is restricted by their sedentary nature and apparent inability to cross open water between rocky areas. Consequently, numerous geographic races, incipient species and species are found in the lake. This suggests that intralacustrine allopatric speciation may account for much of the species diversity of cichlids of rocky zones.
It is recommended that biologists working on cichlids from Lake Malawi should ascertain the precise location at which their specimens were caught and avoid using aquarium reared fish "

Classification: Species overview, Lake Malawi.

Language: English

Ribbink, Anthony J & A.C. Marsh, B.A. Marsh, B.J. Sharp. 1983. "The zoogeography, ecology and taxonomy of the genus Labeotropheus Ahl, 1927, of Lake Malawi (Pisces: Cichlidae)". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. v. 79(n. 3), pp. 223–243 (crc05458) (abstract)