E.E. van Loon
P.G. Rachello Dolmen
- Ecological correlates of species differences in the Lake Tanganyika crab radiation
- Volume | Issue number
- 615 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
The endemic crabs of Lake Tanganyika include a phenotypically diverse clade that exhibits recent divergence and low phylogenetic species resolution. There are indications that ecological niche segregation has played a prominent role in the divergence of this clade. We used habitat surveys, gut content analyses and stable isotope analyses to test the extent to which morphological species are ecologically different. Our data show some interspecific segregation in depth, substrate type and mean stable isotope signatures. At the same time, a considerable level of ecological niche overlap is evident among species of Platythelphusa that coexist in rocky littoral habitats. We consider these results in the framework of adaptive radiation theory, and we discuss general ramifications for the maintenance of species diversity in Lake Tanganyika.
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