Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Occurs in swamps and shallow coastal waters (Ref. 6060). Feeds on fish and insects (Ref. 13624).
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Distribution

Range Description

Mastacemebelus frenatus is known from Uganda and Kenya, south to Namibia and Botswana.

Central Africa: It has been found in the Kasai, the upper Congo and the Luapula-Mweru system.

Eastern Africa: This species is present in the Lake Victoria drainage. Also known from the Nabugabo systems, the Victoria Nile and Aswa River, as well as Tanganyika and major affluents, i.e. Rusizi and Malagarazi, Akagera, Lake Kyoga and associated smaller lakes and rivers. Records by Copley (1952, 1958) from the Athi River system might refer to this species. Most likely there are no mastacembelids in the Tana system despite records by Copley (1952, 1958) (Seegers et al. 2004).

Southern Africa: It occurs in the upper Zambezi, Okavango and Kafue systems (Skelton 2001), and is widespread throughout the upper Zambezi system including many northern tributaries such as the Kabompo and West Lunga (Tweddle et al. 2004)
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Africa: Lake Victoria through Lake Tanganyika and their associated catchment basins to the Upper Zambezi and Okavango Rivers.
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East and southern Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 29 - 35; Dorsal soft rays (total): 64 - 73; Analspines: 2; Analsoft rays: 67 - 80; Vertebrae: 95
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Size

Max. size

40.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 27292))
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Diagnostic Description

Anterior nostril in the form of a short tentacle. Snout produced as a fleshy appendage. The anal fin with 2 separate spines. Color extremely variable, ground color brown with a variable reticulated and blotched pattern (Ref. 34290).
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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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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This is a demersal species. It is occurs in swamps, marginal wetlands and shallow coastal waters (Travers et al. 1986). Also found in temporary streams, rivers and floodplains, generally living amongst vegetation, tree roots or rocks. This species is occurs the edge of gentle rapids but does not occur in severe rapids, such as Sioma and Katombora on the upper Zambezi, where it is replaced by Mastacemebelus vanderwaali. It feeds on fish and insects, mainly on insect larvae (Fermon 1997). Little is known about its ecology. Information on reproduction and growth is not known.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

demersal; freshwater; pH range: 7.4 - 8.4; dH range: 7 - 30
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Trophic Strategy

Frequency of occurence in Caprivi: occasionally on rocky streams, occasionally in shallow flood plains (Ref. 037065). Feeds on fish and insects (Ref. 13624).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mastacembelus frenatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 17
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Mastacembelus cf. frenatus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mastacembelus cf. frenatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Mastacembelus frenatus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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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
Bayona, J., Marshall, B., Moelants, T., Ntakimazi, G., Tweddle, D. & Twongo, T.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a wide distribution, with no known major widespread threats. It is therefore listed as Least Concern. It has also been assessed regionally as Least Concern for central, eastern and southern Africa.
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Population

Population
No detailed information. Common but not abundant in fisheries catches. The relative index of abundance was less than 0.01 kg/hr in waters up to 30m of Lake Victoria during the 1969-1971 survey (Kudhongania and Cordone 1974). Current surveys 1977-1999 show catch rates of 0.2 kg/h in Kenyan waters (Okaranon et al. 1999). The population may be increasing in Lake Victoria despite a slight contraction in EOO.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
In eastern Africa, this species is threatened by:
- Predation by Nile Perch.
- Illegal fishing practice.
- Pollution of the inshore environment.
- Wetland loss due to agriculture expansion.
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
None known. More information is needed on this species biology and ecology, and population trends should be monitored. Habitat conservation is also required in eastern Africa.
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