Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 2, pp 201–211

Changes in morphology and growth of the mudskipper (Periophthalmus argentilineatus) associated with coastal pollution


    • Department of Animal Ecology and EcophysiologyRadboud University Nijmegen
  • T. Hecht
    • Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries SciencesRhodes University
  • H. B. Pratap
    • Department of Zoology and Marine BiologyUniversity of Dar es Salaam
  • S. E. Wendelaar Bonga
    • Department of Animal Ecology and EcophysiologyRadboud University Nijmegen
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-005-0178-z

Cite this article as:
Kruitwagen, G., Hecht, T., Pratap, H.B. et al. Marine Biology (2006) 149: 201. doi:10.1007/s00227-005-0178-z


In this paper a comparison is made between the growth and morphology of barred mudskippers (Periophthalmus argentilineatus) from six mangrove forests along the coast of Tanzania. The fish populations from unpolluted sites consisted of different size classes, whereas only small sized fish were present in the polluted Mtoni mangroves. Age estimation based on the examination of otoliths revealed that the mudskippers followed similar growth patterns in all sites with limited pollution. However, the age estimates from the polluted Mtoni site revealed an abnormal growth pattern. The occurrence of unilateral anophthalmia in the Mtoni mudskippers suggested that these fish were affected by pollutants during early development. The study showed that the presence of urban and industrial wastes from Dar es Salaam city, as indicated by isotopic enrichment, correlated with abnormal growth and developmental effects in mudskippers. We hypothesize that pollution might also affect fish species that use the mangroves as a temporary habitat.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005