The Cichlid Fishes

The Cichlid Fishes

Nature's Grand Experiment in Evolution

Book - 2000
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Baker & Taylor
Examines a family of fish that has evolved hundreds of different species in the Great Lakes of East Africa and are prized by hobbyists for their colors.

Perseus Publishing
A charming, authoritative look at one of nature's most spectacular animals.

Cichlid fishes are amazing creatures. In terms of sheer number of species, they are the most successful of all families of vertebrate animals, and the extent and speed with which they have evolved in some African lakes has made them the darlings of evolutionary biologists. But what truly captivates biologists like George Barlow--not to mention thousands of aquarists the world over--is the complexity of their social lives and their devotion to family (most species of cichlids are monogamous and many pairs share the responsibility of raising offspring). In this wonderful book, Barlow describes the unusually high intelligence of these fishes, their complex mating and parenting rituals, their bizarre feeding and fighting habits, and the unusual adaptations and explosive rate of speciation that have enabled them to proliferate and flourish. A celebration of their diversity, The Cichlid Fishes is also a marvelous exploration of how these unique animals might help resolve the age-old puzzle of how species arise and evolve.


Book News
Considered a foremost expert on them, Barlow (integrative biology, U. of California-Berkeley) examines a family of fish that has evolved hundred of different species in the Great Lakes of East Africa and are prized by US hobbyists for their colors and because they are so easy to rear in an aquarium. He also describes how they are at risk of extinction from human-planted Nile perch in their native waters, and explores the implications of their rapid speciation for the understanding of evolution. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell North Amer
Cichlid Fishes are amazing creatures. In terms of sheer number of species, they are the most successful of all families of vertebrate animals, and the extent and speed with which they have evolved in some African lakes has made them the darlings of evolutionary biologists.
But what really captivates scientists like George W. Barlow - not to mention thousands of aquarists the world over - is the complexity of cichlids' social lives and their devotion to family: Most species of cichlids are monogamous and many pairs share the responsibility of raising offspring. In this way, they embody the abstract ideal of the human family, with males and females remaining faithful to each other as long as the offspring need their care and protection.
But it is the cichlids' explosive rate of speciation that makes them unique in the animal kingdom. Far more diverse than Darwin's finches, cichlids have evolved into over a thousand species. With fantastic jaws that allow them to exploit a wide array of food sources, and scores of unique feeding and mating strategies, cichlids have an uncanny ability to specialize. While many think of nature as a collection of ecological niches waiting to be filled, cichlids appear to create their own niches - and they prosper because of it.
A celebration of their diversity, The Cichlid Fishes is also a marvelous exploration of how these unique animals might help resolve the age-old puzzle of how species arise and evolve. Like E.O. Wilson's ants, and Bernd Heinrich's ravens, George Barlow's cichlids will delight and enlighten naturalists for generations to come.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Perseus Pub., c2000
ISBN: 9780738203768
0738203769
Branch Call Number: 597.74 BAR
Characteristics: xvi, 335 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps ; 24 cm

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