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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Dealing with food and eggs in mouthbrooding cichlids: structural and functional trade-offs in fitness related traits.

Tim Tkint, Erik Verheyen, Barbara De Kegel, Philippe Helsen and Dominique Adriaens (2012)

Dealing with food and eggs in mouthbrooding cichlids: structural and functional trade-offs in fitness related traits.

PloS one, 7(2):e31117.

As in any vertebrate, heads of fishes are densely packed with functions. These functions often impose conflicting mechanical demands resulting in trade-offs in the species-specific phenotype. When phenotypical traits are linked to gender-specific parental behavior, we expect sexual differences in these trade-offs. This study aims to use mouthbrooding cichlids as an example to test hypotheses on evolutionary trade-offs between intricately linked traits that affect different aspects of fitness. We focused on the oral apparatus, which is not only equipped with features used to feed and breathe, but is also used for the incubation of eggs. We used this approach to study mouthbrooding as part of an integrated functional system with diverging performance requirements and to explore gender-specific selective environments within a species.

Animal, Animal: physiology, Animals, Behavior, Cichlids, Cichlids: physiology, Female, Food, Male, Mouth, Mouth: anatomy & histology, Ovum, Sex Characteristics, Species Specificity

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