Ancient lakes are natural laboratories for the study of adaptive radiation. Recently, two lake systems on the Indonesian island Sulawesi have emerged as promising new model systems. A species flock of atyid freshwater shrimps in the Malili lake system comprises 15 colorful endemic taxa. Mitochondrial DNA data suggest two independent colonizations by riverine ancestors. Only one colonization event led to subsequent radiation into 14 species, while the second clade comprises just one species. The vast majority of species (n= 12) are habitat specialists, which are confined to the larger Malili clade and include all taxa with species-specific color patterns and a restricted distribution within the five connected Malili lakes. Morphological, genetic, and ecological data are consistent with the existence of an adaptive radiation in the Malili lakes, involving the habitat-specific diversification of trophic morphology. In addition to testing criteria for the recognition of an adaptive radiation, an ancestral state reconstruction reveals an equal probability for either a riverine generalist or a lacustrine specialist as ancestor of the large Malili clade, which is interpreted as indicative of an early stage of habitat specialization within this radiation. Finally, our results suggest that species diversification may have been primarily driven by ecological specialization and allopatric speciation.