Some ambient environmental conditions, food and reproductive habits of the banded lampeye killifish Aplocheilichthys spilauchen in the Kakum estuary wetland, Ghana

Abstract

The use of killifish in biological control of mosquitoes to complement other mosquito control programs is gaining interest due to the increasing development of chemically resistant substrains of mosquitoes. This study investigates the ambient salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen as well as food habits, sex ratio, fecundity and spawning frequency of Aplocheilichthys spilauchen in Ghana in an effort to broaden knowledge of the suitability of this killifish for mosquito control. Sampling was undertaken from July 2009 to January 2010 to monitor the levels and variations in the environmental parameters and fish abundance, and also to determine the feeding ecology, fecundity and possible spawning frequency. Results suggested that lower levels of salinity favoured the population while levels beyond 4‰ were detrimental. The species preyed highly on insects and insect larvae, which constituted 80% of food consumed. Females significantly outnumbered males by almost 2:1 (χ2 = 28.57, P < 0.05), and had low fecundity (2–44 eggs). Ova diameter analysis suggested that the species spawns continuously. The better survivability of the species in freshwater pools with continuous spawning of drought tolerant eggs, and the high preference for insects and insect larvae suggest that it could be a useful candidate for biocontrol of mosquitoes.

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Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Ghana for providing vehicle, field and laboratory equipment as well as laboratory space for this research. I am also thankful to Prof John Blay and Dr. Joseph Aggrey-Fynn for their assistance in the laboratory. I finally thank the chief technician Mr. Peter Aubyn as well as the field assistants Mr. John Eshun and Mr. Benjamin Owusu of School of Biological Sciences, UCC for their tireless efforts throughout the data collection.

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Okyere, I. Some ambient environmental conditions, food and reproductive habits of the banded lampeye killifish Aplocheilichthys spilauchen in the Kakum estuary wetland, Ghana. Environ Biol Fish 94, 639–647 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-011-9970-4

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Keywords

  • Killifish
  • Environmental requirements
  • Feeding habits
  • Breeding habits
  • Mosquito control