DragonflyIssuesInEvolution13 Wiki

Darwin, Finches, and Hawaii

What is it?[]

Adaptive radiation is an evolutionary process which means a single ancestral form that diversifies into several or many different types. 

Examples in Nature[]

There are several well-known examples of adaptive radiation but the most famous of these is Darwin's finches.

Adaptive-radiation Darwins finches

Darwin's Finches

The cichlids in Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi are also good examples of adaptive radiation.

Darwin observed about 15 species of birds often classified as the sub group Geospizinae. They are not true finches and show morphological variation based on 

food type (Grant, 1986).



“The African cichlid fish radiations are the most diverse extant animal radiations and provide a unique system to test predictions of speciation and adaptive radiation theory” (Seehausen, 2006).


Grant, P. R. (1986). Ecology and evolution of Darwin's finches. Princeton University Press.

Seehausen, O. (2006). African cichlid fish: a model system in adaptive radiation research. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 273(1597), 1987-1998.