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

Tim tkint UGent, Erik Verheyen, Barbara De Kegel UGent, Philippe Helsen and Dominique Adriaens UGent (2012) PLOS ONE. 7(2).
abstract
Background: 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. Methodology/Principal Findings: Because cichlids are morphologically very diverse, we hypothesize that the implications of the added constraint of mouthbrooding will primarily depend on the dominant mode of feeding of the studied species. To test this, we compared the trade-off for two maternal mouthbrooding cichlid species: a "suction feeder'' (Haplochromis piceatus) and a "biter'' (H. fischeri). The comparison of morphology and performance of both species revealed clear interspecific and intersex differences. Our observation that females have larger heads was interpreted as a possible consequence of the fact that in both the studied species mouthbrooding is done by females only. As hypothesized, the observed sexual dimorphism in head shape is inferred as being suboptimal for some aspects of the feeding performance in each of the studied species. Our comparison also demonstrated that the suction feeding species had smaller egg clutches and more elongated eggs. Conclusions/Significance: Our findings support the hypothesis that there is a trade-off between mouthbrooding and feeding performance in the two studied haplochromine cichlids, stressing the importance of including species-specific information at the gender level when addressing interspecific functional/morphological differences.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
FISHES TELEOSTEI, SEXUAL-DIMORPHISM, PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY, HAPLOCHROMIS-PICEATUS, CONSTRUCTIONAL MORPHOLOGY, LABRID FISHES, TREWAVAS 1933 PISCES, LAKE VICTORIA, PARENTAL CARE, CONSTRAINTS
journal title
PLOS ONE
PLoS One
volume
7
issue
2
article_number
e31117
pages
8 pages
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000302737400010
JCR category
MULTIDISCIPLINARY SCIENCES
JCR impact factor
3.73 (2012)
JCR rank
7/56 (2012)
JCR quartile
1 (2012)
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0031117
project
Belspo project MO/36/013
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
2125877
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2125877
date created
2012-05-31 17:51:54
date last changed
2012-06-07 08:45:35
@article{2125877,
  abstract     = {Background: 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. 
Methodology/Principal Findings: Because cichlids are morphologically very diverse, we hypothesize that the implications of the added constraint of mouthbrooding will primarily depend on the dominant mode of feeding of the studied species. To test this, we compared the trade-off for two maternal mouthbrooding cichlid species: a {\textacutedbl}suction feeder'' (Haplochromis piceatus) and a {\textacutedbl}biter'' (H. fischeri). The comparison of morphology and performance of both species revealed clear interspecific and intersex differences. Our observation that females have larger heads was interpreted as a possible consequence of the fact that in both the studied species mouthbrooding is done by females only. As hypothesized, the observed sexual dimorphism in head shape is inferred as being suboptimal for some aspects of the feeding performance in each of the studied species. Our comparison also demonstrated that the suction feeding species had smaller egg clutches and more elongated eggs. 
Conclusions/Significance: Our findings support the hypothesis that there is a trade-off between mouthbrooding and feeding performance in the two studied haplochromine cichlids, stressing the importance of including species-specific information at the gender level when addressing interspecific functional/morphological differences.},
  articleno    = {e31117},
  author       = {tkint, Tim and Verheyen, Erik and De Kegel, Barbara and Helsen, Philippe and Adriaens, Dominique},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  journal      = {PLOS ONE},
  keyword      = {FISHES TELEOSTEI,SEXUAL-DIMORPHISM,PHENOTYPIC PLASTICITY,HAPLOCHROMIS-PICEATUS,CONSTRUCTIONAL MORPHOLOGY,LABRID FISHES,TREWAVAS 1933 PISCES,LAKE VICTORIA,PARENTAL CARE,CONSTRAINTS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {8},
  title        = {Dealing with food and eggs in mouthbrooding cichlids: structural and functional trade-offs in fitness related traits},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031117},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
tkint, Tim, 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).
APA
tkint, T., Verheyen, E., De Kegel, B., Helsen, P., & Adriaens, D. (2012). Dealing with food and eggs in mouthbrooding cichlids: structural and functional trade-offs in fitness related traits. PLOS ONE, 7(2).
Vancouver
1.
tkint T, Verheyen E, De Kegel B, Helsen P, Adriaens D. Dealing with food and eggs in mouthbrooding cichlids: structural and functional trade-offs in fitness related traits. PLOS ONE. 2012;7(2).
MLA
tkint, Tim, Erik Verheyen, Barbara De Kegel, et al. “Dealing with Food and Eggs in Mouthbrooding Cichlids: Structural and Functional Trade-offs in Fitness Related Traits.” PLOS ONE 7.2 (2012): n. pag. Print.