Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found over rocks in mainstream and in large soft-bottomed floodplain lagoons. Grazes algae and aufwuchs as well as detritus. A shoaling species, breeding in summer, possibly in flooded marginal habitats, as the young fish are caught in large numbers in fish-weirs set across floodwaters receding from floodplains (Ref. 7248).
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Distribution

Range Description

The upper Zambezi and Okavango systems (Skelton 2001).
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Africa: Upper Zambezi/Okavango Rivers.
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Southern Africa.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 400 mm SL
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Max. size

40.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7248)); max. published weight: 2,500 g (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 lunatus coexists with L. cylindricus in some quieter rocky habitats but was generally absent from rocky rapids. Its preferred habitat is the main river channel where it occurs throughout the floodplain system (Tweddle et al. 2004). Grazes algae and detritus. A shoaling species, breeding in summer, probably in flooded marginal habitats. Young fish are caught in large numbers in fish weirs set across waters draining from floodplains (Skelton 2001).

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

benthopelagic; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater
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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.
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Trophic Strategy

Frequency of occurrence in Caprivi: occasionally in sandy streams, rocky streams, shallow swamps, frequently in standing deep water (Ref. 37065). Found over rocks in mainstream and in large soft-bottomed floodplain lagoons. Grazes algae and aufwuchs as well as detritus. A shoaling species, breeding in summer, possibly in flooded marginal habitats, as the young fish are caught in large numbers in fish-weirs set across floodwaters receding from floodplains (Ref. 7248).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Labeo lunatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
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
2007

Assessor/s
Marshall, B.E. & Tweddle, D.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has declined in the local fisheries on the upper Zambezi floodplains because they are targeted by fishermen during their spawning runs, but this is not a threat to the survival of this species (Tweddle, pers. obs.).
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Population

Population
A common species but its abundance fluctuates extensively in relation to the extent of flooding (Tweddle et al. 2004).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Heavy fishing pressure may affect abundance.
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species has no protection.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: subsistence fisheries
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Wikipedia

Upper Zambezi Labeo

Labeo lunatus, the Upper Zambezi labeo, is a species of cyprinid fish native to southern Africa.[2]

Distribution[edit]

This species occurs in the Upper Zambezi and Okavango Rivers.[2]

Habitat[edit]

This species inhabits rocky areas of streams as well as large soft-bottomed lagoons in floodplains. It feeds mostly on algae and detritus.[2]

Description[edit]

This species can reach a length of 40 centimetres (16 in) SL. The maximum recorded weight of this species is 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lb).[2]

Relationship to Humans[edit]

L. lunatus is important to local artisanal fisheries.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marshall, B.E. & Tweddle, D. 2007. Labeo lunatus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 12 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Labeo lunatus" in FishBase. February 2014 version.
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