Pliocene isolation of a north-west Saharan cichlid fish
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.
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