Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 113–125 | Cite as

Geographic variation of Barbus radiatus Peters, a widely distributed African cyprinid fish

  • Donald J. Stewart
Main article


Barbus radiatus is a widely distributed, polytypic species with three recognized subspecies: radiatus Peters (1853), aurantiacus Boulenger (1910), and profundus Greenwood (1970). A phenetic analysis of relative similarity was conducted for specimens of B. radiatus from throughout its known range. The study focuses on several large population samples taken recently along the presumed central Zambian interface between the subspecies aurantiacus and radiatus. New data on meristic and morphometric variation in B. radiatus and recent rediscovery of typical radiatus in Lake Victoria demonstrate that profundus is a species distinct from radiatus. With respect to the remaining two subspecies, results indicate a populational mosaic of highly variable morphs rather than two discrete, allopatric morphs. Thus, aurantiacus is placed in synonymy of radiatus. It is hypothesized that the populational mosaic of morphology in radiatus reflects adaptive ecotypic responses to water temperature and current velocity. The characters which accounted for most of the geographic variation of radiatus were body depth, caudal peduncle length, longitudinal meristic counts, dorsal fin height, and orbit diameter.


Africa Barbus Cyprinidae Ecotypic Fish Geographic variation Phenetics Principal components Systematics 


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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v., Publishers 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald J. Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Natural Resources and Museum of ZoologyThe University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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