General, Research, Technology

Why are there so many varieties of the same fish in Africa?

A huge number of people live on our planet.a variety of fish. This is quite difficult to believe, but by the beginning of 2019, scientists already knew more than 35,122 varieties, and with each month their number is constantly growing. It is noteworthy that each species has many subspecies, and at the moment fish that are called cichlids living in the waters of various parts of America, Asia and Africa are considered to be record holders for variety. Today, scientists know that this family has more than 2,000 species that are very different from each other in size, shape, color and lifestyle. Scientists from the English city of Cambridge recently managed to find out what is associated with their great diversity.

Many species of cichlids are found in aquariums.

An explanation of the unusual phenomenon was published inthe scientific journal Nature Communications. According to evolutionary biologist Joana Mayer, the emergence of new species of cichlid fish mainly occurs in freshwater lakes in Africa. The fact is that among these aquatic inhabitants the main role in mating is played by females and they cannot always choose a partner of their species. And the reason for this is the increased turbidity of the water, which prevents females from clearly distinguishing colors and shapes. In most cases, they are mistaken when choosing a partner and mate with other varieties of their own species, as a result of which individuals with a different color appear.

Cyclic fish differ in size, shape and color.

How do new fish species appear?

According to historical data, millions of yearsback in the African lake called Mveru there were only two varieties of cichlid fish. Over time, they began to mate with each other and give birth to new individuals. At present, more than 40 new species can be caught in this lake, and scientists are confident that their diversity will become even greater in the future. The fact that the fish, differing in shape and color, evolved from the two aforementioned species, the researchers were convinced after studying their DNA.

The body length of cichlids is from 2.5 centimeters to 1 meter

New species of fish differ not only in appearance, but alsoin the way of life. The fact is that they have an amazing ability to adapt to various environmental conditions. Some species begin to feed on insect larvae, while others prefer algae. Moreover, some of the hybrids acquire quite large teeth and become predators, therefore, sometimes they attack other smaller fish.

Cichlids can be found even in the waters of the Krasnodar Territory; Mozambique tilapia species and eight-lane cichlazoma live there

Do you know why predatory piranha fish change their teeth in whole blocks?

According to scientists, new types of cichlids aroserelatively recently. For example, 800 species of fish living in the waters of the African country of Malawi about a million years ago came from several ancestors who lived in the area more than 2 million years ago. And individuals living in the area of ​​Victoria Falls have evolved over the past 150,000 years. Researchers are confident that all these new fish are genetically compatible with each other, which means they can further increase their diversity.

And what unusual fish do you know about? Tell us about them in the comments or in our Telegram chat, it's really interesting!

Thus, scientists became aware of anotheramazing ability of fish. But there are a lot of such skills in this group of living creatures. For example, did you know that females of the so-called blue-headed thalas can completely turn into males within one week? You can read more about the reasons for such a drastic sex change in our material.

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