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Depth-dependent abundance of Midas Cichlid fish (Amphilophus spp.) in two Nicaraguan crater lakes

Dittmann, M. T., Roesti, M., Indermaur, A., Colombo, M., Gschwind, M., Keller, I., Kovac, R., Barluenga, M., Muschick, M. and Salzburger, W. (2012) Depth-dependent abundance of Midas Cichlid fish (Amphilophus spp.) in two Nicaraguan crater lakes. Hydrobiologia, 686 (1). pp. 277-285. ISSN 0018-8158

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1024-1


The Midas Cichlid species complex (Amphilophus spp.) in Central America serves as a prominent model system to study sympatric speciation and parallel adaptive radiation, since small arrays of equivalent ecotype morphs have evolved independently in different crater lakes. While the taxonomy and evolutionary history of the different species are well resolved, little is known about basic ecological parameters of Midas Cichlid assemblages. Here, we use a line transect survey to investigate the depth-dependent abundance of Amphilophus spp. along the shores of two Nicaraguan crater lakes, Apoyo and Xiloa´. We find a considerable higher density of Midas cichlids in Lake Xiloa´ as compared to Lake Apoyo, especially at the shallowest depth level. This might be due to the higher eutrophication level of Lake Xiloa´ and associated differences in food availability, and/or the presence of a greater diversity of niches in that lake. In any case, convergent forms evolved despite noticeable differences in size, age, eutrophication level, and carrying capacity. Further, our data provide abundance and density estimates for Midas Cichlid fish, which serve as baseline for future surveys of these ecosystems and are also relevant to past and future modeling of ecological speciation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Animal Sciences > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)- DO NOT USE
ID Code:65969
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sympatric speciation; Parallel adaptive radiation; Fish density estimates; Crater Lake Apoyo; Crater Lake Xiloa´; Ecology

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