Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found in various habitats and dams. Feeds on insects, snails and plants. Breeds in spring and early summer; males construct a sand-scrape nest in shallow water, females mouthbrood the eggs and larvae (Ref. 7248).
  • Skelton, P.H. and G.G. Teugels 1991 Serranochromis. p. 442-453. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse, G.G. Teugels and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 4. (Ref. 5693)
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Distribution

Range Description

Headwater reaches of the upper Zambezi, Kafue and Lunagwa systems in Zambia (Skelton, 2001).
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Zambia.
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Africa: Upper Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa Rivers (middle Zambezi system) in Zambia.
  • Skelton, P.H. 1993 A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers. 388 p. (Ref. 7248)
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 277 mm SL
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Max. size

27.7 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7248))
  • Skelton, P.H. 1993 A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers. 388 p. (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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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Occurs in a variety of habitats and dams. Feeds on insects, snails and plants. Breeds in spring and early summer.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

demersal; freshwater
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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
2007

Assessor/s
Tweddle, D.

Reviewer/s
Snoeks, J. (Freshwater Fish Red List Authority) & Darwall, W. (Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment Unit)

Contributor/s

Justification
The species has a wide distribution with no known threats.
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Population

Population
Not known.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
None known.
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Least Concern (LC)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species is protected in some reserves.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: subsistence fisheries
  • Skelton, P.H. 1993 A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers. 388 p. (Ref. 7248)
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