Old fish, new fish, red fish, blue fish | Science News

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Old fish, new fish, red fish, blue fish

Changes in sense organs could be splitting cichlids in an African lake into two species

By
12:27pm, October 1, 2008
Some cichlid fish see red better while others only have eyes for blue. This difference in vision, observed in fish in an African lake, could be pushing red-bodied cichlids to branch off from their blue-bodied brethren and to form a new species.

If so, it would be the first time that scientists have caught evolution in the act of creating a new species because of changes in sense organs. For one species to diverge into two, some barrier must prevent two groups of individuals from interbreeding. Physical separation of two groups and changes to reproductive organs are two of the wedges that scientists have shown can drive the formation of new species, and evolutionary biologists are always keen to discover new mechanisms.

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