Congo River cichlid evolution

congo river

Teleogramma brichardi. Photo by Dave Hansen

A new study looks at the impact the rapid moving waters of the Congo River have on cichlid species. Cichlid species living in fast moving waters tend to have elongated bodies and smaller swim bladders in order to cope with currents. However, a new genetic study has shown that these same fast currents also isolate and diversify the many species within the river.

The strong currents of the Congo River have played a major role in the diversification of species that are separated by relatively short distances. The study has shown that the fast moving waters have created pockets where groups have been isolated long enough to diversify genetically despite the lack of any physical barriers separating them. The article was published in Molecular Ecology. A short, free synopsis of the article can be found on To discuss Teleogramma brichardi and other species from the Congo River visit the West African Species forum.

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