Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Hardy, prefers quiet, well-vegetated waters in lakes, swamps, and marshes or marginal areas of larger rivers and slow-flowing streams. Feeds on a wide variety of small organisms including insects, small snails and crustaceans, algae, diatoms, and detritus. Is preyed upon by the sharptooth catfish, tigerfish, largemouth breams (Serranochromis species) and birds. Spawns amongst vegetation during summer (Ref. 7248).
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Distribution

Range Description

The distribution of Barbus paludinosus ranges from Ethiopia in the north, through East and Central Africa, extending westwards into Angola and reaching the southern-most limits of its distribution in Natal.

Central Africa: It is found in the headwaters of the Lualaba and Sankuru Rivers in DRC.

Eastern Africa: This species is found in the Lake Victoria basin, Athi and Tana River systems, northern and southern Ewaso Nyiro basins, This species is known from upper Pangani system, Amboseli swamps, Lake Naivasha and affluents (Seegers et al. 2003). Also reported from the affluent streams and rivers to Lake Tanganyika, including the Malagarasi River, and the Middle Akagera system. Widespread in Lake Malawi and its affluents, the Shire River and Lakes Chiuta and Chilwa.

Northeast Africa: This species occurs in the Awash basin and rift lakes, Ethiopia

Southern Africa: Widespread in east coastal rivers from East Africa south to KwaZulu-Natal and from southern Congo tributaries and the Quanza in Angola to the Orange (Skelton 2001).
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Africa: ranges from Ethiopia in the north, through East and Central Africa, extending westwards into Angola and reaching the southern-most limits of its distribution in Natal (Ref. 2801). In the Congo basin known from Lake Mweru, Luapula, upper Lualaba, Lufira (Ref. 41590) and upper Lulua (Ref. 42554).
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Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal soft rays (total): 8; Analsoft rays: 6 - 7
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Size

Maximum size: 150 mm SL
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Max. size

15.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7248))
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Diagnostic Description

Last unbranched ray of dorsal fin thorny, long and with posterior denticulation; barbels not well developed, anterior barbel very short, just reaching the posterior side of the maxilla, posterior barbel just reaching the middle of the eye (Ref. 27628). Dorsal side brown-silver colored, ventral side silver, with a darker band on the flanks; fins not colored (Ref. 27628).
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Type Information

Cotype for Barbus thikensis
Catalog Number: USNM 86625
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Locality: Thika R. E. Africa 3000 Ft., Africa
  • Cotype:
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Ecology

Habitat

Zambezi River Benthopelagic Habitat

This taxon is one of a number of benthopelagic species in the Zambezi River system of southern Africa. Benthopelagic river fish are found near the bottom of the water column, 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 known fish species present in the Zambezi River, including eel and shark taxa. The largest native benthopelagic fish in the Zambezi are the 170 cm North African catfish (Clarias gariepinus), the 146 cm common carp (Cyprinus carpio carpio), the 150 cm Indo-Pacific tarpon (Megalops cyprinoides) and the introduced 120 cm rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

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Kunene River Benthopelagic Habitat

This taxon is one of a number of benthopelagic species in the Kunene River system. Benthopelagic river fish are found near the bottom of the water column, 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 several endemic benthopelagic fishes in the Kunene River: the eight centimeter (cm) long Kunene dwarf happy (Orthochromis machadoi); the 14 cm benthopelagic Namib happy (Thoracochromis buysi); and the seven cm benthopelagic Kunene kneria (Kneria maydelli).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Barbus paludinosus is a benthopelagic species. It occupies a wide range of habitats, including large rivers, both vegetated and rocky, lagoons both connected to and isolated from main river channels, and small and large streams (Tweddle et al. 2004), and impoundments both large and small. The species does not occur in the more densely-vegetated swamps, preferring larger open pools and pools with relatively high plant diversity. Barbus paludinosus feeds on a wide variety of small organisms including insects, small snails and crustaceans, algae, diatoms, and detritus. It is preyed upon by the sharptooth catfish, tigerfish, largemouth breams (Serranochromis species) and birds. Barbus paludinosus spawns amongst vegetation during summer (Skelton 1993). Spawning takes place up the influent rivers during the rainy season (January-February). Migration appears to correspond to periods of heavy rainfall or flushing. They are multiple spawners laying from 250 to 2,500 eggs.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

benthopelagic; freshwater; pH range: 6.8 - 7.8; dH range: 5 - 25
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Trophic Strategy

Hardy, prefers quiet, well-vegetated waters in lakes, swamps, and marshes or marginal areas of larger rivers and slow-flowing streams. Frequency of occurrence in Caprivi: occasionally on rocky streams, in standing deep water; common in shallow swamps and flood plains (Ref. 37065). Feeds on a wide variety of small organisms including insects, small snails and crustaceans, algae, diatoms, and detritus. Is preyed upon by the sharptooth catfish, tigerfish, largemouth breams (Serranochromis species) and birds.
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Associations

Known prey organisms

Barbus paludinosus preys on:
Trichoptera
algae
detritus
Plantae
Cladocera
Insecta

Based on studies in:
Malawi (River)
Africa, Crocodile Creek, Lake Nyasa (Lake or pond)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • G. Fryer, The trophic interrelationships and ecology of some littoral communities of Lake Nyasa, Proc. London Zool. Soc. 132:153-229, from p. 219 (1959).
  • G. Fryer, 1957. The trophic interrelationships and ecology of some littoral communities of Lake Nyasa with special reference to the fishes, and a discussion of the evolution of a group of rock-frequenting Cichlidae. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 132:153-281, f
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Diseases and Parasites

White spot Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Eye Infection (Diplostomum sp.). Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Barbus paludinosus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 50
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
Bills, R., Cambray, J., Kazembe, J., Marshall, B., 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. Due to limited distribution information, it has been assessed as Data Deficient in northeast Africa.

History
  • 2006
    Least Concern
    (IUCN 2006)
  • 2006
    Least Concern
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Population

Population
The species is abundant and widespread.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Barbus paludinosus is commercially used for food. In eastern Africa it is also threatened by fishing across rivers and in lakes using under-sized nets and illegal fishing methods, siltation of the spawning substrate and pollution.
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is protected in several reserves over its wide distribution range. More research is required into this species taxonomy, biology and ecology, and population trends.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial
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Wikipedia

Straightfin Barb

The Straightfin Barb (Barbus paludinosus) is a species of ray-finned fish in the Cyprinidae family. B. pleurogramma is sometimes included here, but while it is certainly extremely closely related, it appears to be a distinct cryptic species.

B. paludinosus is found in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. Its natural habitats are rivers, freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, and inland deltas. It is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN.

References

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