Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 41, Issue 1–4, pp 247–268 | Cite as

The comparative reproductive styles of two closely related African minnows (Pseadobarbus afer andP. asper) inhabiting two different sections of the Gamtoos River system

  • Jim A. Cambray


Two species of a monophyletic lineage of flexible-rayed redfin minnows,Pseudobarbus afer andP. asper, were studied to establish if there were any significant differences in their reproductive styles. They are sister species with few morphological or meristic differences.P. afer andP. asper are open substrate benthic spawners on coarse bottoms (rocks) and non-guarders of non-adhesive eggs. Their young are photophobic as free embryos. Riverine spawning sites indicated a conservative tendency and represented a phylogenetic constraint as compared to the more variable attributes, such as egg size, which were under environmental control within the limits expressed by the genotype. The combination of life-history attributes, gonadosomatic index, fecundity, egg size, investment per clutch, number of clutches per season and reproductive lifespan was found to be different forP. afer andP. asper. P. asper is derived and atypical of otherPseudobarbus species studied to date. Differences betweenP. afer andP. asper are directly related to the two distinct environments inhabited by these species-coastal Cape Fold Belt mountain streams and the inland Karoo streams of the Gamtoos River system.P. asper may have reverted, by juvenilization, to a more altricial form to survive the turbid, intermittent Karoo stream.

Key words

Alternative life-history Altricial Cyprinidae Egg size Fecundity Generalist Life-history Multiple spawn Precocial Seasonality Sister species Spawning Specialist Water regulation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jim A. Cambray
    • 1
  1. 1.Albany MuseumGrahamstownSouth Africa

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