Speciation of Cichlid Fishes by Sensory Drive

  • Yohey Terai
  • Norihiro Okada
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series (PrimMono)


What is the mechanism that drives speciation? This question is a major issue for Darwinian evolution and remains to be solved. Recently, a small teleost fish has provided an opportunity to study speciation. The lakes of East Africa harbor more than 1,000 closely related cichlid fishes. These populations are an ideal model system for understanding vertebrate speciation. In particular, the cichlid fish of Lake Victoria provide a unique opportunity to understand the molecular basis of speciation. Studies on these cichlids have led researchers to propose that the long-wavelength-sensitive opsin (LWS) gene was a strong candidate gene that has been responsible for speciation. Further analyses of the LWS gene and breeding coloration showed speciation by sensory drive in which adaptation of the sensory system for a particular environment drives the divergence of mating signals and leads to reproductive isolation. Therefore, sensory drive speciation may be one of the key mechanisms underlying the diversification of African cichlids. Moreover, we discuss the possibility of reproductive isolation by other sensors.


Reproductive Isolation Color Vision Mating Signal Cichlid Fish Opsin Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Bioscience and BiotechnologyTokyo Institute of TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Bioscience and BiotechnologyTokyo Institute of TechnologyYokohamaJapan

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