Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Also caught with drawnets. Occurs in well-vegetated swamps and along the edges of rivers. Also occurs in fast-flowing reaches over sand and rocks. Feeds on small fish, shrimps and insects. A mouthbrooding species which breeds in spring (Ref. 6465).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is known from the Congo to Namibia and Namibia and Botswana.

Central Africa: Serranochromis angusticeps is known from the Luapula-Mweru system and from the Lufira River.

Southern Africa: It is found in the upper Zambezi, Cunene, Okavango and Kafue systems, as well as the Zambian Congo and possibly some coastal rivers north of the Cunene in Angola (Skelton 2001).
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Africa: Cunene River system (Angola and Namibia), Okavango River, upper Zambezi, and Kafue Rivers (Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe), and Luapula-Moeru (Congo River system) in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
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Central and southern Africa.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 410 mm SL
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Max. size

41.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7248)); max. published weight: 2,500 g (Ref. 5693); max. reported age: 9 years (Ref. 7248)
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Ecology

Habitat

Zambezi River Demersal Habitat

This taxon is one of a number of demersal species in the Zambezi River system of southern Africa. Demersal river fish are found at the river bottom, feeding on benthos and zooplankton

Nutrient levels in the Zambezi River are relatively low, especially in the upper Zambezi; in that reach, above Victoria Falls, most of the catchment drains Kalahari sands, whose nutrient levels are inherently low due to their aeolian formation; moreover, agricultural fertilizer addition throughout the Zambezi watershed is low, due to the shortage of capital available to farmers of this region.

Nitrate levels (as nitrogen) in the upper Zambezi are typically in the range of .01 to .03 milligrams per liter. Correspondingly electrical conductivity of the upper Zambezi is on the order of 75 micro-S per centimeter, due to the paucity of ion content. From the Luangwa River downstream nitrate levels elevate to .10 to .18 milligrams per liter, and electrical conductivity rises to a range of two to four times the upper Zambezi levels. Not surprisingly, pH, calcium ion concentration, bicarbonate and electrical conductivity are all higher in portions of the catchment where limestone soils predominate compared to granite.

There are a total of 190 fish species present in the Zambezi River, including eel and shark taxa. The largest native demersal species present are the 117 centimeter (cm) long tiger fish (Hydrocynus vittatus), the 175 cm African mottled eel (Anguilla bengalensis labiata), the 120 cm Indonesian shortfin eel (Anguilla bicolor bicolor), the 200 cm Giant mottled eel (Anguilla marmorata), the 150 cm African longfin eel (Anguilla mossambica), the 183 cm Sampa (Heterobranchus longifilis), the 150 cm Cornish jack (Mormyrops anguilloides) and the 700 cm largetooth sawfish (Pristis microdon).

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Kunene River Demersal Habitat

This taxon is one of a number of demersal species in the Kunene River system. Demersal river fish are found at the river bottom, feeding on benthos and zooplankton

The Kunene River rises in the central highlands of Angola, and thence flows southward to form a major element of the border between Namibia and Angola before the final discharge is to the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of the Angola-Benguela Front. The geometry of the Kunene riparian zone is distinctly narrow, with rugged arid landscapes persisting on both sides of the river over long distances, and a virtual lack of any extensive floodplains.

There is a relatively high rate of endemism of aquatic biota in the Kunene. Proposed expansion of dams on the Kunene poses a threat to biodiversity in the river, especially regarding proposals at Epupa Falls. However, a greater threat to the Kunene is a plan by Angola to greatly expand withdrawal of water from the river to expand irrigated agriculture by 600,000 hectares; not only will this action significantly diminish downriver flow rates, but also add considerable nitrate, herbicide and pesticide substances to the river.

The catchment area of the Kunene Basin is approximately 106,560 square kilometres (41,143 square miles) in area, of which 14 100 km² (13%) lies within Namibian territory. Its mean annual discharge is 174 cubic meters per second (6145 cubic feet per second) at its mouth on the Atlantic. Water quality of the Kunene River is relatively high, since the human population density and agricultural intensity is relatively low, including a conspicuous absence of overgrazing. However, bacteria and other microbial pathogens pose a material threat to Kunene water quality, due to the fact that only a small fraction of the domestic wastewater in Angola is treated;

Regarding freshwater bivalves, the central reaches of the Kunene manifest particularly high endemism, similar to parts of the Okavango, Chobe, Upper Zambezi and Etosha Pan basins. The bivalve Etheria elliptica, which also occurs in the Upper Zambezi, is a freshwater mussel in the family Etheriidae, known from a limited extent of the central Kunene River in Angola. It is threatened by proposed dam construction on the Kunene.

There are two endemic denmersal fish in the Kunene: the 26 centimeter (cm) long demersal Kunene happy (Sargochromis coulteri) and the demersal fish Hippopotamyrus longilateralis.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Serranochromis angusticeps is a demersal species that occurs in well-vegetated swamps and along the edges of rivers. It also occurs in fast-flowing reaches over sand and rocks. Winemiller (1991) considered it to be a lagoon-dwelling, diurnal, ambush piscivore. This species feeds on small fish, shrimps and insects. It is a mouth-brooding species which breeds in spring (de Moor and Bruton 1988). The female incubates the eggs in her mouth. Parental care is exercised for a short while after hatching when the juveniles move off to shallow grassy areas and there they remain, in the Upper Zambezi, until floodwaters recede and force them back to the main river. They seek refuge in lagoons and backwaters until they reach a size large enough to avoid predation by tigerfish in the open waters of the river.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

demersal; freshwater
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Female incubates eggs in her mouth. Parental care is exercised for a short while after hatching when the juveniles move off to shallow grassy areas and there they remain, in the Upper Zambezi, until floodwaters recede and force them back to the main river. They seek refuge in lagoons and backwaters until reaching a size large enough to avoid predation by tigerfish in the open waters of the river.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Serranochromis angusticeps

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Marshall, B., Moelants, T. & Tweddle, D.

Reviewer/s
Snoeks, J., Tweddle, D., Getahun, A., Lalèyè, P., Paugy, D., Zaiss, R., Fishar, M.R.A & Brooks, E.

Contributor/s

Justification
Although there are localised threats, this species has a wide distribution. It is therefore listed as Least Concern. It has also been assessed regionally as Least Concern for central and southern Africa.
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Population

Population
This species is widespread and fairly common.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Serranochromis angusticeps is commercially used for aquaculture. Overfishing in Luapula and Lake Mweru with drawnets pose threats to the species. Mining in the Katanga region for cobalt, copper, tin, uranium, dams and the use of toxic plants for fishing and overfishing form threats in this region.
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Since 2007 it has been prohibited to fish in Lake Mweru and the Luapula River on the Congolese site of the border. In Zambia, there is the Kasanka National Park around Lake Bangweulu. The fines didn’t work in this region. Even scientific collections were stopped. The government has burned 10,000 nets after measuring the nets. The governor (Morris Katunge) has paid the fishermen. The first of May 2008, fishing was allowed again, but with controlled mesh sizes.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
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