Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2011, Article ID 575469, 12 pages
Research Article

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Geography, Ecology, Sympatry, and Male Coloration in the Lake Malawi Cichlid Genus Labeotropheus (Perciformes: Cichlidae)

Section of Vertebrate Zoology, Milwaukee Public Museum, 800 West Wells Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233, USA

Received 15 November 2010; Revised 15 February 2011; Accepted 28 March 2011

Academic Editor: Kristina M. Sefc

Copyright © 2011 Michael J. Pauers. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


While sexual selection on male coloration has been important in haplochromine cichlid speciation, few studies to date have examined potential environmental influences on color pattern evolution. Data from multiple sources on male nuptial coloration of the Lake Malawi endemic genus Labeotropheus were used to examine the relationship between color patterns and the environments in which these patterns were found. Red- or carotenoid-pigmented males were concentrated in the northwestern portion of Lake Malawi and were also associated with increasing depth. Further, the presence or absence of L. fuelleborni influenced the coloration of L. trewavasae populations; when L. fuelleborni was present, L. trewavasae males were more likely to exhibit some degree of red coloration. While these results support the idea that sexual selection on male coloration is an important factor in the haplochromine speciation, they also underscore the importance of environmental influences on the evolution of color patterns.