Trophically polymorphic species could represent lineages that are rapidly diverging along an ecological axis or could phenotypically mark the collapse of species through introgressive hybridization. We investigated patterns of introgression between the trophically polymorphic cichlid fish Herichthys minckleyi and its relative H. cyanoguttatus using a combination of population genetics and species tree analyses. We first examined the distribution of mitochondrial haplotypes within the alternative H. minckleyi pharyngeal jaw morphotypes that are endemic to the small desert valley of Cuatro Ciénegas. We recovered two clusters of mitochondrial haplotypes. The first contained a number of slightly differentiated cytochrome b (cytb) haplotypes that showed some phylogeographic signal and were present in both jaw morphotypes. The other haplotype was monomorphic, highly differentiated from the other cluster, present in equal frequencies in the morphotypes, and identical to H. cyanoguttatus haplotypes found outside Cuatro Ciénegas. Then, we investigated whether H. minckleyi individuals with the H. cyanoguttatus cytb were more evolutionarily similar to H. cyanoguttatus or other H. minckleyi using a species tree analysis of 84 nuclear loci. Both H. minckleyi pharyngeal morphotypes, regardless of their cytb haplotype, were quite distinct from H. cyanoguttatus. However, hybridization could be blurring subdivision within H. minckleyi as the alternative jaw morphotypes were not genetically distinct from one another. Accounting for introgression from H. cyanoguttatus will be essential to understand the evolution of the trophically polymorphic cichlid H. minckleyi.
Ecology and Evolution, Volume 3, Issue 13, pages 4536–4547, November 2013