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Its seems that there is a lot made of cross breeding in the tank environment. Does this not occur naturally in the wild or is there a reason that they dont. Dont get me wrong I understand the reasons for it in aquarium but I just wondererd?
 

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I'm fairly new to cichlids but I believe the female chooses the male. In the tank environment sometimes they have very slim pickings for males of their species so the chances of them choosing one from another species is very high. In the wild the odds of this would be much much lower due to larger territories and many males of their species to choose from.
 

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Good question! I know in the wild most of the species we have would never meet. I think people underestimate how big the lake is and how deep it is at some points. The fish stick to certain boundries. I'm looking forward to seeing what others have to say about this.
 

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I think Ad Konings once made a comment that he has seen only one hybrid individual fish in some 200+ dives in lake Malawi.

If you think about it, if hybridization occurred often in the wild, the gene pools of distinct species would mix to the point of not being able to tell two species apart.

Hybridization has probably occurred many times over the course of the history of cichlids in the lake and given rise to new species, but this is a rare event. It may happen on a larger scale when the water level of the lake changes dramatically and all of a sudden two species that were once separate meet at a newly formed reef. This kind of thing may happen once every few hundred years or so.
 

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steve p gardiner, you ask the question using the term crossbreed, not hybrid... interesting. :thumb:

Cross breeding is defined as the mating between two previously distinct groups of a life form.
Many a dictionary will try to define it as: "An animal or a plant produced by breeding two animals or plants of different species or varieties; a hybrid."

The answer to your question is (to me) a fascinating answer... if there are many crossbreeds found when researching a wild population, then it is considered evidence that the sub-group of the plant or animal sub-group being looked at is one large "species" with morphs, variants or just multiple phenotypes. The absence of cross breeds is evidence that there are more than one sub-group.

In other words, whether individual wild caught fish are considered a cross breed or not requires one to first have a anthropocentric view of the natural world! :lol:

So, the answer to your question could be both a "yes" or a "no" depending on the motives of the question... Generally speaking, malawi cichlids show a resistance to out-crossing but yes, some small degree of crossbreeding does occur.
 

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Generally, fish do not hybridize in nature providing the habitat is not altered. The fish have evolved to know which fish are members of their own species, and are quite good at it.

If things change thou, such as most of the fish of a species disappear from an area because of habitat changes, or a similar non native fish becomes established, hybrids can happen. It does seem to depend on if females can find proper males... if they cannot find the right male they may lower their expectations. In Lake Victorian, they say that they may be hybrids because so many fish are near extinction but I don't know if they know for sure.

What happens with hybrids long run? Will they become new species? This is a debated subject.

Now as far as human made hybrids, they have been mixing Malawi cichlids intentionally and unintentionally for 40 years+ and have not created superior strains, in fact that is why F1 are held in such high regard because of the poor quality of aquarium strains. The so called Peacock OB types are the only thing which has been successful as far as ornamental fish and those still vary widely in consistency. They could barely be called a cultivar since they are not consistant in looks or quality.
 

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noki said:
The so called Peacock OB types are the only thing which has been successful as far as ornamental fish and those still vary widely in consistency. They could barely be called a cultivar since they are not consistant in looks or quality.
Dunno if this is so true in Europe.
We see lots of potential "cultivars" here.
Whole websites full of em. But few Mbuna.
http://www.malawi-firefish.de/index2.php

Still a minority interest but I guess not to be ignored.
I guess the same could be done with Mbuna if there was a market.

All the best James
 

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24Tropheus
In noki's defense, firefish are reported to throw out a large number of throwbacks per batch. Are they breeding pretty true now on that side of the pond?
 

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Number6 said:
24Tropheus
In noki's defense, firefish are reported to throw out a large number of throwbacks per batch. Are they breeding pretty true now on that side of the pond?
I am told so by a breeder (his give no throwbacks (about 6 generations since imported from the far east I think) and all look the same but others are not so good (but then he would say that :wink: )). On a personal front, I found some to be far more agressive than others.
To be honest I dunno what were the parent/original species are of the various firefish.
Does it not vary from line to line?
 

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I've read that mbuna are extremely unwilling to leave their own reef.

Most species seem to be so highly specialized, any hybrids might not survive in the wild anyway. Maybe that's the reason females are so selective?
 
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