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The gross intestine morphology of a group of rock-dwelling Cichlid (pisces, teleostei) from Lake Malawi
Reinthal, P.N. (1989). The gross intestine morphology of a group of rock-dwelling Cichlid (pisces, teleostei) from Lake Malawi. Neth. J. Zool. 39(3-4): 208-225
In: Netherlands Journal of Zoology. E.J. Brill: Leiden. ISSN 0028-2960, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Fresh water

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  • Reinthal, P.N.

Abstract
    Length and coiling patterns of the gastrointestinal tract of a group of rock-dwelling cichild fishes (the 'mbuna') from Lake Malawi, Africa are reported in this study. In the 16 species of primarily hebivorous fish examined, diet and habitat correlated with gut length. Species feeding primarily on diatoms in sediment-rich environments have longer intestins than those feeding on more animal material or in sediment-free environments. The coiling pattern of the gastrointestinal tract is equivalent for all species and does not appear to be taxonomically usefull within the group. If intestine length is responsive, in either eclogical or evolutionary time scales, to changes in diet, this permits flexibility in the range of dietary items that a particular individual or lineage may consume. Stuctural specializations, such as intestine morphology, promoting differential resource utilization characterize the adaptive radiation of the family Cichlidae and facilitate ecological coexitence in these high diversity assemblages.

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