The role of head shape and trophic variation in the diversification of the genus Herichthys in sympatry and allopatry

Journal of Fish Biology
Fabian Pérez-MirandaOldřich Říčan


In the present study we evaluated the putative cases of sympatric speciation in the genus Herichthys by studying the variation in head shape using principal component analysis, phylomorphospace and reconstructions of the ancestral states of feeding preferences. Herichthys includes both allopatric and sympatric sister species, as well as sympatric unrelated species and thus offers great potential for evolutionary studies of putatively sympatric speciation. Herichthys is the northernmost group of cichlids in America and one of the most ecologically disparate genera within Middle American cichlids. Fifteen anatomical points were recorded on the heads of 293 specimens of the 11 species recognized within the genus. The results show that in spite of having wide variation in consumed diets, most species of Herichthys are close in morphospace. However, morphological variation was great among the two pairs of sympatric sister species in agreement with the suggested sympatric model of speciation.


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