Bi-parental mouth brooding in Tilapia galilaea (Pisces, Cichlidae)

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Abstract

New evidence shows that Tilapia galilaea (Artédi) is almost certainly a bi-parental mouth brooder throughout its range, and that this habit is not confined only to races found in Israel. Previous classification of this species as a maternal brooder in Africa appears to be based on lack of observations; it is the only member of the genus definitely known to be a bi-parental brooder. The size of the eggs and the development of their adhesive stalk system is intermediate between those of substrate spawners and mouth brooders. Among the latter the adhesive stalk system of the only paternal brooding species is rudimentary but it is entirely absent in the maternal brooding species. The conclusion is drawn that maternal and paternal mouth brooders did not evolve directly from substrate spawners but independently from bi-parental brooders.

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