Color pattern variation in Cichla temensis (Perciformes: Cichlidae): Resolution based on morphological, molecular, and reproductive data

  • Paul Reiss, Kenneth W. Able, Mario S. Nunes and Tomas Hrbek


    Morphological variants of Cichla temensis, readily differentiated by their striking color pattern differences, are found in several Amazon basin flood pulse river systems. The adult variants have at times been thought to represent different species or sexual dimorphism. A three part study was performed in two regions in Brazil (rio Igapó Açú and rio Caures) to elucidate the nature of the variants. In part one; selected diagnostic morphometric characters were compared intraspecifically among the variants and interspecifically with C. monoculus and C. orinocensis. All of the C. temensis variants were found to differ significantly from their sympatric congeners while not differing among each other. In part two, mitochondrial DNA samples were compared intraspecifically among the variants and interspecifically with their sympatric congeners. There were no diagnostic molecular synapomorphies that would unambiguously distinguish the variants and all C. temensis variants were clearly diagnosable and divergent from their sympatric congeners. In part three, color pattern variation in both sexes was compared to a gonadosomatic index (GSI). A significant correlation between color pattern variation and gonadosomatic index was found. The results of this study demonstrate that Cichla temensis variants are confirmed to be members of a single species and that the variation does not represent a sexual dimorphism. The color pattern variation is a cyclically occurring secondary sexual characteristic and is indicative of the specific degree of an individual’s seasonal sexual maturation.
    Quelle: Neotropical Ichthyology, 10(1): 59-70, 2012 (pdf, öffentlich)