Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Prefers large rivers but is also found in large lakes and dams. Grazes on algae and `aufwuchs' from rocks (Ref. 7248). From October to December in Lake Moëro, the adults gather and migrate to the spawning grounds. They go up the Luapula River up to the foot of Johnston Falls where they undergo one massive spawning between January and March. This massive spawning of short duration is known as kapata in the Luapula-Moëro system and in the tributaries of the Luapula. This species is intensely fished and caviar is produce from eggs collected during migration from Lake Moëro to Luapula River (Ref. 26190).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is found from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Central Africa: Labeo altivelis is known from the upper Congo River and the Luapula-Mweru region and Lake Bangweulu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Reid 1985).

Eastern Africa: It occurs in the Lower Shire River, Malawi.

Southern Africa: This species is present in the lower and middle Zambezi, Pungwe, Save and Buzi Rivers in Mozambique, and the Zambian Congo.
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Africa: lower and the middle reaches of the Zambezi River system, including the Shire and Lake Malawi. Also in Lake Mweru and the Luapula (upper Congo River basin)(Ref. 26190). Range thought to extend to some East Coast rivers (Rufiji system) (Ref. 1440).
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Southeastern Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal soft rays (total): 1213
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Size

Maximum size: 400 mm TL
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Max. size

49.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5309)); max. published weight: 3,600 g (Ref. 7248); max. reported age: 9 years (Ref. 7248)
  • Kolding, J., E.M. Tirasin and L. Karenge 1992 Growth, mortality, maturity and length-weight parameters of fishes in Lake Kariba, Africa. Naga ICLARM Q. 15(4):39-41. (Ref. 5309)
  • 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 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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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Labeo altivelis is a benthopelagic and potamodromous species. It prefers large rivers but is also found in large lakes and dams. It grazes on algae and `aufwuchs' from rocks (Skelton 1993). It migrates upstream into tributaries to breed during the rainy season. From October to December in Lake Moëro, the adults gather and migrate to the spawning grounds. They go up the Luapula River up to the foot of Johnston Falls where they undergo one massive spawning between January and March. This massive spawning of short duration is known as kapata in the Luapula-Mweru system and in the tributaries of the Luapula. This species is intensely fished and caviar is produced from eggs collected during migration from Lake Mweru to Luapula River (Tshibwabwa 1997). This species is of some economic importance especially during the low water conditions of the dry season.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

benthopelagic; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Migration

Potamodromous. Migrating within streams, migratory in rivers, e.g. Saliminus, Moxostoma, Labeo. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Trophic Strategy

Prefers large rivers but is also found in large lakes and dams. Grazes on algae and `aufwuchs' from rocks (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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Associations

Known prey organisms

Labeo altivelis (Labeo altivelis (cyprinid fish)) preys on:
epiphytic algae
algae
detritus

Based on studies in:
Africa, Lake McIlwaine (Lake or pond)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • B. E. Marshall, The fish of Lake McIlwaine. In Lake McIlwaine: the eutrophication and recovery of a tropical man-made lake (J. A. Thornton, Ed.) Vol 49 Monographia Biologicae, D. W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp. 156-188, from p. 180 (1982).
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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., Marshall, B., Moelants, T. & Vreven, E.

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 to this species, it 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 and southern Africa. Regionally for east Africa it is restricted to the Lower Shire, Malawi. It undertakes a mass migration upstream during the rainy season, moving out of the river and spawning on the floodplain, and is vulnerable to overfishing at this stage (Bruton et al., 1982). For this reason it has been regionally assessed as Vulnerable.
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Population

Population
No information available.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Heavily fished in much of its range. It was abundant in Lake Kariba after the lake initially filled but has since declined - probably naturally.
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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
Management of rural fisheries is needed in certain areas. 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. Since 1st of May 2008, fishing was allowed again, but with controlled mesh sizes. The most southern part of the species distribution in the Congo River basin is situated in the National Park of Upemba.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: subsistence fisheries; gamefish: yes
  • 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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Wikipedia

Rednose Labeo

The rednose labeo (Labeo altivelis) is a species of fish in the family Cyprinidae, the carps and minnows. Other common names include Hunyani labeo, Manyame labeo, rednose mudsucker, and sailfin mudsucker.[1] It is native to Africa, where it is distributed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.[1]

This fish is about 27 centimeters long at maturity. It has been known to reach 49 centimeters in length and 3.6 kilograms in weight. Its maximum reported age is nine years.[2]

This species is widely distributed in several African river systems and lakes, including the Congo, Luapala, Shire, Zambezi, Pungwe, Save, and Buzi Rivers and Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu.[1] It is potamodromous, undertaking a migration through the river systems and into tributaries during the rainy season. In some areas, such as the Shire River of Malawi, it leaves the swollen rivers and swims out onto the floodplains, where it spawns.[1]

The fish is benthopelagic, moving through deeper waters over the substrate, and grazing on algae and aufwuchs.[1]

This is a food fish of seasonal commercial importance in some parts of its range. Its spawning events, known locally as kapata, can involve large aggregations of adult fish. During the spawning migration, many fish gather in the shallows of the floodplains, where they are easy to catch. The eggs are also collected for caviar. Overfishing occurs in some areas, and the resource is managed by some governments.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bills, R., et al. 2010. Labeo altivelis. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. Downloaded on 17 October 2013.
  2. ^ Froese, R. and D. Pauly. (Eds.) Labeo altivelis. FishBase. 2011.
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