Krom River redfin

Pseu­do­bar­bus sen­ti­ceps

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The Krom River redfin was iden­ti­fied years ago by famed coela­canth ex­pert J.L.B. Smith. Smith had de­scribed a redfin species from the Krom River sys­tem in the Eastern Cape, and named it Bar­bus sen­ti­ceps. But this species was later iden­ti­fied as the same fish as the Eastern Cape redfin, Pseu­do­bar­bus afer. Re­cent stud­ies have con­firmed that Smith’s redfin is in­deed a species in its own right. Af­ter ad­di­tional stud­ies by Doc­tor Al­bert Chakona and Prof. Paul Skel­ton, which was pub­lished in the ZooKeys journal, the fish is now of­fi­cially called Pseu­do­bar­bus sen­ti­ceps. Size and bi­ol­ogy The breed­ing bi­ol­ogy of this species has not yet been stud­ied, but it’s likely to be sim­i­lar to its con­geners, which breed in sum­mer. Fur­ther stud­ies are also re­quired to de­ter­mine its diet. Habi­tat Pseu­do­bar­bus sen­ti­ceps oc­curs in peren­nial streams with clear to peat stained wa­ter, and het­ero­ge­neous sub­strates (boul­ders, cob­bles and peb­bles). It’s likely to have also oc­curred in the main­stream sec­tions of the Krom River, but these habi­tats are now dom­i­nated by non-na­tive species. Catch me if you can It’s a fish usu­ally caught by fly fish­er­men, while nets are the most ef­fec­tive cap­ture method for re­search pur­poses. The clear moun­tain streams of the Cape Floris­tic Re­gion also of­fer a unique op­por­tu­nity to snorkel and see them up close. If you do catch one, please re­lease them alive – and in the same place. Don’t move them from one catch­ment area to an­other as it can cause ge­netic pol­lu­tion through hy­bridi­s­a­tion. That’s a record The big­gest recorded Krom River redfin is 8 cm long. SASSI sta­tus They are cur­rently listed as crit­i­cally en­dan­gered, mean­ing this species faces an ex­tremely high risk of ex­tinc­tion. Ma­jor threats in­clude in­va­sion by alien fish, as well as habi­tat degra­da­tion and wa­ter ab­strac­tion. Text Dr. Al­bert Chakona Photo Ernst Swartz © South­ern African In­sti­tute of Aquatic Bio­di­ver­sity (SAIAB)

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