Pliocene isolation of a north-west Saharan cichlid fish

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The evolutionary origin of the only north-west Saharan haplochromine cichlid, Astatotilapia desfontainii, was explored using mitochondrial DNA sequences. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that this species belonged to the main East African–Nilotic haplochromine clade, but was a distinct lineage that diverged from modern haplochromines in the Pliocene. The results suggest that A. desfontainii is a relict haplochromine lineage that has endured major climate fluctuations in North Africa.

Keywords: adaptation; desertification; mitochondrial DNA; speciation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2010

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