The lobed-lipped species of Haplochromis (Teleostei, Cichlidae) from Lake Edward, two instead of one

By Vranken, Nathan & Maarten Van Steenberge, Annelies Kayenbergh, Jos Snoeks

Journal of Great Lakes Research, (21-May-2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2019.05.005


" Thickened lips have evolved several times within the cichlid flocks of the East African Great Lakes. This distinct and easily recognisable phenotype is a model trait to study convergent evolution. Lake Edward (Eastern Africa) contains a unique cichlid assemblage, which has remained largely understudied. Hitherto, only one cichlid species with lobed lips, Haplochromis labiatus, was known from this lake. This species has a blunt snout and rounded and mostly retrognathous jaws. However, we found specimens with lobed lips, but with acute snouts and slender and mostly prognathous jaws. These belong to a species, hitherto unknown to science: H. lobatus sp. nov. Both species occur sympatrically. We evaluated the morphological diversity within these species by investigating a total of 112 specimens using traditional and geometric morphometric approaches. Both species are formally (re)described and show a relatively large variation in their trophic morphologies, which complicates identification. Both have a small gape, stout outer teeth that strongly decrease in size laterad, and a lower jaw set anteriorly with procumbently-implanted outer teeth. Haplochromis labiatus differs from H. lobatus sp. nov. by a straight to convex vs. straight to concave head, a slightly shorter and broader lower jaw (27.7–34.3 vs. 31.2–40.7% HL; 71.4–92.4 vs. 48.5–70.5% LJL), and lobed lips that are thickened uniformly over their whole lengths vs. medially enlarged. Gut content observations revealed that both species have an insectivorous diet. While both exploit similar food sources, their morphological differences presumably prevent them from entering into direct ecological competition "

Comments: In Press, published online on May 21, 2019 (Juan Miguel Artigas Azas, 06-Jun-2019).

Classification: Taxonomy and phylogeny, Africa.

Language: English

Vranken, Nathan & Maarten Van Steenberge, Annelies Kayenbergh, Jos Snoeks. 2019. "The lobed-lipped species of Haplochromis (Teleostei, Cichlidae) from Lake Edward, two instead of one". Journal of Great Lakes Research (crc09351) (abstract)