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Lake Tana large barbs diversity: Developmental and hormonal bases

Smirnov, S. V., Kapitanova, D. V., Borisov, V. B., Abdissa, Belay, Shkil, F. N.
Journal of ichthyology 2012 v.52 no.11 pp. 861-880
fins, flocks, girdling, lakes, ontogeny, skeleton, skull, teeth, thyroid hormones
Helerochronies caused by changes in the hormonal status are proposed to play a major role in the diversification of the Lake Tana barbs of Labeobarbus (=Barbus) genus (Dgebuadze and Mina, 2008). To test this hypothesis, we (i) compared temporal patterns of cranial development in L. intermedius, likely ancestral for Tana species flock, and L. brevicephalus and L. megastoma proposed to be paedomoiphic and peramoiphic, respectively; (ii) studied the role of thyroid hormone (TH) in the regulation of L. intermedius development; (iii) evaluated the effect of TH changes on the definitive morphology, and (iv) evaluated the possible role of TH in diversification of Tana barbs. Skull development was found to be heterochronicaily changed in L. brevicephalus and L. megastoma as compared to L. intermedius; revealed heteroclironies may account for differences in skull proportions distinguishing these barbs, TH was shown to play a major role in the regulation of ontogeny. Changes in TH level cause heterochronies in the development of a skull, axial skeleton, fins and fin girdles, squamation, and dentition. Heteroclironies were shown to influence adult morphology of these structures. These findings support the hypothesis of the involvement of developmental and hormonal factors in the diversification of the Lake Tana large barbs.