Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to western Africa. It has only been collected from the Niger delta.
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Africa: Lower Niger (Ref. 2880, 81279).
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West Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Anal spines: 0; Analsoft rays: 21 - 22
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Size

Max. size

6.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 2880))
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnosis: 5.5-6.5 scales above lateral line; lateral line complete; 25-26 lateral line scales; 18-19 branched rays of anal fin; 16 gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch (Ref. 2880, 81279). Description: snout blunt, weakly prominent; mandible with single row of 9 or 10 external teeth; anal fin with 3 unbranched and 18-19 branched rays (Ref. 2880, 81279). Big eyes (Ref. 2880). Coloration: silvery body with fine black lateral stripe ending in caudal peduncle spot; very light humeral spot also present (Ref. 2880, 81279).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
A. smykalai is a pelagic species that inhabits creeks and rivers. The average lifespan for an African Tetra (members of the family Alestidae) is five years.

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

pelagic; freshwater; pH range: 6.0 - 7.2; dH range: 8 - 15
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A2ce

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Snoeks, J., Laleye, P. & Contreras-MacBeath, T.

Reviewer/s
Collen, B., Darwall, W., Ram, M. & Smith, K. (SRLI Freshwater Fish Evaluation Workshop)

Contributor/s

Justification
Assessed as Vulnerable due to an inferred decline of greater than 30% over the past fifteen years. This is due to habitat degradation, water pollution and introduced species within the lower Niger River basin.
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Population

Population
The population trend and numbers are unknown and further research is required for this species.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
A. smykalai is threatened by habitat degradation. The Niger Delta has suffered extensive environmental pollution and the crisis is still on going. The Niger Delta is endowed with immense natural resources, particularly crude oil, and in addition, Nigeria has the largest natural gas reserves in Africa. As a consequence, environmental problems arise from oil and gas-related development activities, oils spills, refinery operations, oil transportation, gas flaring, dredging of canals and land taken for the construction of facilities. Areas near such outfalls are subjected to chronic pollution, which is of significance for fish resources and fisheries (Laë et al. 2004). Construction of dams along the Niger River during the last 25 years has significantly disrupted the hydrological balance of the lower Niger River (Bustamante 2002). Population pressure and agricultural land degradation also exacerbate biodiversity losses in the region as they induce people to expand agricultural production and increase fishing pressure (Bustamante 2002).

In addition to habitat degradation, it is possible that A. smykalai is negatively affected by introduced species. In Nigeria, nine species were introduced since the 1970s, mainly for aquaculture. The ecological effects of these introduced species are unknown (Laë et al. 2004).
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Vulnerable (VU) (A2ce)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Regional red listing for West Africa is Endangered.
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