1 Introduction</h5> Cichlids (Teleostei: Perciformes: Cichlidae) rank among the most species rich fish families. They currently hold more than 1600 valid species taxa ( Eschmeyer and Fong, 2012 ), but may count up to 3000 species, distributed throughout the Neotropics, Africa, the Middle East, Madagascar, as well as Southern India, and Sri Lanka ( Snoeks, 2000; Turner et al., 2001 ). Their morphological, behavioral and ecological diversity has fascinated biologists ever since the enormous diversity of cichlids in the East African cichlid radiation (EAR) endemic to Lakes Tanganyika, Malawi and the Lake Victoria region became apparent ( Fryer and Iles, 1972; Kornfield and Smith, 2000 ). Over the last decades, cichlids have become a prime model system in evolutionary biology, especially in speciation research ( Kocher, 2004; Salzburger and Meyer, 2004; Seehausen, 2006 ). Aquaculture research as well as evolutionary biology caught attention of “ Tilapia ”, i.e. members of the so called tilapiine cichlid assemblage (sensu Trewavas, 1983 – details see below) as not only one of its members, the Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758), is of globally important significance for aquaculture ( Ridha, 2006 ) but also because tilapiines gave rise to small species radiations
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2013
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