ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-150419-7
Embryonic and larval development in the Midas cichlid fish species flock (Amphilophus spp.): a new evo-devo model for the investigation of adaptive novelties and species differences
Kratochwil, C.F., Sefton, M.M., Meyer, A.
Date: 2015
Source: BMC Developmental Biology   15: 12 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Meyer, Axel
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cichlids/embryology*
  • Cichlids/growth & development*
  • Larva/growth & development*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Species Specificity
PubMed: 25887993 Full text @ BMC Dev. Biol.
Central American crater lake cichlid fish of the Midas species complex (Amphilophus spp.) are a model system for sympatric speciation and fast ecological diversification and specialization. Midas cichlids have been intensively analyzed from an ecological and morphological perspective. Genomic resources such as transcriptomic and genomic data sets, and a high-quality draft genome are available now. Many ecologically relevant species-specific traits and differences such as pigmentation and cranial morphology arise during development. Detailed descriptions of the early development of the Midas cichlid in particular, will help to investigate the ontogeny of species differences and adaptations.
We describe the embryonic and larval development of the crater lake cichlid, Amphilophus xiloaensis, until seven days after fertilization. Similar to previous studies on teleost development, we describe six periods of embryogenesis - the zygote, cleavage, blastula, gastrula, segmentation, and post-hatching period. Furthermore, we define homologous stages to well-described teleost models such as medaka and zebrafish, as well as other cichlid species such as the Nile tilapia and the South American cichlid Cichlasoma dimerus. Key morphological differences between the embryos of Midas cichlids and other teleosts are highlighted and discussed, including the presence of adhesive glands and different early chromatophore patterns, as well as variation in developmental timing.
The developmental staging of the Midas cichlid will aid researchers in the comparative investigation of teleost ontogenies. It will facilitate comparative developmental biological studies of Neotropical and African cichlid fish in particular. In the past, the species flocks of the African Great Lakes have received the most attention from researchers, but some lineages of the 300-400 species of Central American lakes are fascinating model systems for adaptive radiation and rapid phenotypic evolution. The availability of genetic resources, their status as a model system for evolutionary research, and the possibility to perform functional experiments including transgenesis makes the Midas cichlid complex a very attractive model for evolutionary-developmental research.