Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Explosive' evolution in pupfish

Date:
May 1, 2011
Source:
University of California - Davis
Summary:
Two groups of small fish, one from a Caribbean island and one from the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, exhibit some of the fastest rates of evolution known in any organism, according to a new study.

This pupfish from San Salvador island is the only species known to eat scales from other fish.
Credit: Chris Martin, UC Davis.

Two groups of small fish, one from a Caribbean island and one from the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, exhibit some of the fastest rates of evolution known in any organism, according to a new UC Davis study.

Related Articles


About 50 species of pupfish are found from Massachusetts to Venezuela -- and they are all pretty much the same, said lead study author Chris Martin, a UC Davis graduate student working with Peter Wainwright, a professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis.

"They look the same and they act the same," eating detritus and algae off rocks, Martin said.

Except in two places. In shallow, salty lakes on San Salvador island in the Bahamas, Martin found that one of the three pupfish species present lives by biting the scales off other fish, while another eats small snails and clam shrimp.

No other pupfish is known to eat scales, Martin said.

Among pupfish originally from the Yucatan area, one eats other fish and another feeds on plankton. Sadly, these fish are now extinct in the wild and only found in labs and aquaria.

The pupfish evolved changes to their jaws to match their specialized diet, allowing Martin to construct an evolutionary map for the species.

If the evolution of all pupfish is like a steadily expanding cloud, Martin found that the San Salvador Island and Yucatan pupfish are like bursts of fireworks within it. They show explosive rates of evolution -- changing up to 130 times faster than other pupfish, he said.

It's not clear why the pupfish in the two locations are evolving so fast. In both places, the lake water is hot and salty -- but that's true in other places where pupfish live. And mosquito fish, found in the same two lakes, show no signs of rapid change.

Martin is continuing his research by taking lab-bred fish, including hybrids, back to the lakes to see whether they thrive. He hopes to see which fish succeed out of a spectrum of hybrids.

The research is published online in the journal Evolution. Martin is a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher H. Martin, Peter C. Wainwright. Trophic Novelty Is Linked To Exceptional Rates Of Morphological Diversification In Two Adaptive Radiations Of Cyprinodon Pupfish. Evolution, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01294.x

Cite This Page:

University of California - Davis. "'Explosive' evolution in pupfish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427101530.htm>.
University of California - Davis. (2011, May 1). 'Explosive' evolution in pupfish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427101530.htm
University of California - Davis. "'Explosive' evolution in pupfish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427101530.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins