Figure S3. Relationships between substratum inclination and depth in the observed 10 × 40-m quadrat at Kasenga point, southern Lake Tanganyika. Different letters on the boxes indicate significant differences at 5% by Tukey's test. from Depth and substratum differentiations among coexisting herbivorous cichlids in Lake Tanganyika
2016-11-14T15:37:22Z (GMT) by
Cichlid fish in Lake Tanganyika represent a system of adaptive radiation in which eight ancestral lineages have diversified into hundreds of species through adaptation to various niches. However, Tanganyikan cichlids have been thought to be oversaturated, that is, the species number exceeds the number of niches and ecologically equivalent and competitively even species coexist. However, recent studies have shed light on niche segregation on a finer scale among apparently equivalent species. We observed depth and substratum preferences of 15 herbivorous cichlids from four ecomorphs (i.e. grazer, browser, scraper and scooper) on a rocky littoral slope for 14 years. Depth differentiation was detected among grazers that defended feeding territories and among browsers with feeding territories. Cichlid species having no feeding territory also showed specificity on depth and substratum, resulting in habitat segregation among species that belong to the same ecomorph. Phylogenetically close species did not occupy adjacent depths, nor the opposite depth zones. Our findings suggest that apparently equivalent species of the same ecomorph coexist parapatrically along depth on a few metre scale, or coexist with different substratum preferences on the rocky shore, and this niche segregation may have been acquired by competition between encountering equivalent species through repetitive lake-level fluctuations.