Limited possibilities for prezygotic barriers in the reproductive behaviour of sympatric Ophthalmotilapia species (Teleostei, Cichlidae)

Loic Kever, Eric Parmentier, Sofie Derycke, Erik Verheyen, Jos Snoeks, Maarten Van Steenberge, Pascal Poncin

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikelpeer review


    Since prezygotic rather than postzygotic barriers are believed to maintain the diversity of closely related sympatric cichlids, differences in phenotypic traits and reproductive behaviours are likely involved in maintaining species boundaries. Here, we focused on the reproductive behaviour of three Ophthalmotilapia species with distributions that only overlap on a small stretch of the shore line of Lake Tanganyika. Repeated introgression of mitochondrial DNA between these species was previously reported, which suggested they can hybridise. Our aim is to test the hypothesis that reproductive behaviour acts as a prezygotic barrier that prevents frequent hybridisation in sympatric Ophthalmotilapia species. We performed a quantitative analysis of twelve reproductions (four for O. ventralis, six for O. nasuta, one for O. boops, and one between a female O. ventralis and a male O. nasuta). Although similar ethograms were obtained for these reproductions, the O. ventralis and O. boops males displayed a behaviour that was never performed by O. nasuta males. This behaviour was displayed during courtship and we called it `invite'. In O. ventralis, we could show that it was associated with the emission of a single pulse sound. The comparison of O. nasuta and O. ventralis reproductive behaviours also revealed some quantitative differences: O. ventralis males showed the location of the bower more often to the female, whereas O. ventralis females followed the male more often. The similarity between the reproductive behaviours in O. ventralis and O. nasuta could explain the occurrence of the heterospecific spawning event recorded between an O. nasuta male and an O. ventralis female. Importantly, few eggs were laid and the maternal mouthbrooding that resulted from this heterospecific reproduction only lasted for two days, which suggested the abortion of egg development. Hence, in the absence of conspecifics, courtship and mating behaviours alone do not constitute perfect prezygotic barriers between these two species.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    Pagina's (van-tot)71-81
    Aantal pagina’s11
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 1-feb-2018

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