Ecosystems bursting with life
Islands and lakes are unique ecosystems that can be both isolated and cosmopolitan. The great African rift lakes sequestered a few kinds of cichlids that evolved into hundreds of specialized species, a colorful sampling of which you can see in this exhibit. While islands’ nearshore waters attract fishes found elsewhere, mainland species that wind up on islands can gradually change through adaptation to new environments. A lake on an island, like our alligators’ Florida Keys blue hole, offers plenty of shelter plus an unrivaled food supply.
Biodiversity: The Cichlids
The large characin family is also well-represented in Amazon, with 66 species, including lots of tetras and a couple of piranhas.