Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 102, Issue 4, pp 663–674 | Cite as

Age, growth and reproduction of the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus Nardo, 1827 in Mellah Lagoon (Eastern Algeria)

  • A. Labbaci
  • L. Chaoui
  • M. H. KaraEmail author


This paper studies the biology of reproduction and growth of the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus in Mellah Lagoon (Algeria). This work helps to complete data lacks for this species concerning West Mediterranean and especially the westmost known distributions limit. A total of 1169 individuals (14.3 mm ≥ TL ≥ 54.4 mm, 0.06 g ≥ TW ≥ 3.89 g) caught monthly from January to December 2012, were examined. The population has a 6-year life cycle. Length–weight relationship was estimated as TW = 0.0093 LT3.513 (r2 = 0.804) for males and TW = 0.0091 TL3.504 (r2 = 0.766) for females. The von Bertalanffy growth function fitted to back-calculated size at age data was: Lt = 49.45 [1 - e-0.274 (t + 1.177)] for males, Lt = 59.03 [1 - e-0.179 (t + 1.514)] for females. The growth performance index (Φ) indicate that females (Φ = 6.67) grew slightly faster than males (Φ = 6.50). Sex-ratio was 1:1.6 in favor of females. The reproductive season extended from February to July. The length at first sexual maturity was 3.84 cm for males and 4.14 cm for females.


Aphanius fasciatus Growth Reproduction Lagoon Mellah Algeria 



This work is funded in part by PHC-Maghreb research program (Partenariat Hubert Curien N° 12MDU880M). The authors thank the Algerian Ministry for Higher Education and Scientific Research (General Directorate for Scientific Research and Technology Development, GDRSDT) which financially supported this study, within the framework of the National Funds of Research (NFR) and the Algerian-Tunisian cooperation program agreement, entitled Freshwater ichthyodiversity in North Africa: endemism and impacts of introductions.


  1. Alcaraz C, Gholami Z, Esmaeili HR, García-Berthou E (2015) Herbivory and seasonal changes in diet of a highly endemic cyprinodontid fish (Aphanius farsicus). Environ Biol Fish 98(6):1541–1554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angeletti D, Cimmaruta R, Sebbio C, Bellisario B, Carere C, Nascetti G (2017) Environmental heterogeneity promotes microgeographic genetic divergence in the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus (Cyprinodontidae). Ethol Ecol Evol 29(4):367–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Annabi A, BenFaleh A, Deli T, Said K (2012) Molecular analysis of the genetic differentiation among Aphanius fasciatus populations captured from Tunisian coastal and estuary sites. Pak J Zool 44:1389–1396Google Scholar
  4. Annabi A, Said K, Reichenbacher B (2013) Inter-population differences in otolith morphology are gentically encoded in the killifish Aphanius fasciatus (Cyprinodontiformes). Sci Mar 2:269–279Google Scholar
  5. Bacha M, Benamirouche C, Freyho J, (2014) A Critically Endangered freshwater fish species of North Africa likely to be extinct in the wild. In: Saving freshwater fishes and habitats. Newsletter of the IUCN SSC/WI Freshwater Fish Specialist Group. N°4. p. 29Google Scholar
  6. Blanco JL, Tomas H, Doadrio I (2006) A new species of the genus Aphanius (Nardo, 1832) (Actinopterygii, Cyprinodontidae) from Algeria. Zootaxa 1158: 39–53Google Scholar
  7. Boumaiza M (1994) Recherches sur les eaux courantes de Tunisie. Inventaire faunistique écologie et biogéographie. Dissertation , Faculty of science Tunis, TunisiaGoogle Scholar
  8. Boumaiza M, Quignard JP, Ktari MH (1979) Contribution a la biologie de la reproduction d’Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827 (Pisces Cyprinodontidae) de Tunisie. Bull Off Nat Pêches Tunisie 3:221–240Google Scholar
  9. Bruslé J, Quignard JP (2004) Les poissons et leur environnement: écophysiologie et comportements adaptatifs. Tec & Doc, LavoisierGoogle Scholar
  10. Cavraro F, Malavasi S, Torricelli P, Gkenas C, Liousia V, Leonardos I et al (2017) Genetic structure of the south European toothcarp Aphanius fasciatus (Actinopterygii: Cyprinodontidae) populations in the Mediterranean basin with a focus on the Venice lagoon. Eur Zool J 84(1):153–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chaibi R, Si Bachir A, Chenchouni H (2015) New inland sites for the Mediterranean killifish (Aphanius fasciatus Valenciennes 1821) in the Sahara Desert of Algeria. J Appl Ichthyol 31:1072–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chaoui L, Kara MH, Faure É, Quignard JP (2006) L’ichtyofaune de la lagune du Mellah (Algérie Nord-Est): diversité production et analyse des captures commerciales. Cybium 30:123–132Google Scholar
  13. Cimmaruta R, Scialanca F, Luccioli F, Nascetti G (2003) Genetic diversity and environmental stress in Italian populations of the cyprinodont fish Aphanius fasciatus. Oceanol Acta 26:101–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dagnelie P (1975) Théorie et méthodes statistiques. Les Presses Agronomiques Gembloux Belgium. Théorie et méthodes statistiques. Vol. 2. Les Presses Agronomiques Gembloux, BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  15. Edgar GJ, Shaw C (1995) The production and tropic ecology of shallow-water fish assemblages in southern Australia. II. Diets of fishes and tropic relationships between fishes and benthos at Western port Victoria. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 194:83–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Embarek R, Amara R, Kara MH (2017) Fish assemblage structure in shallow waters of the mellah lagoon (Algeria): seasonal and spatial distribution patterns and relation to environmental parameters. Acta Ichthyol Piscat 47(2):133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fablet R, Ogor A (2005) TNPC (digital processing of calcified structures): user manualGoogle Scholar
  18. Ferrito V, Pappalardo AM, Canapa A, Barucca M, Doardrio I, Olmo E, Tigano C (2013) Mitochondrial phylogeography of the killifish Aphanius fasciatus (Teleostei Cyprinodontidae) reveals highly divergent Mediterranean populations. Mar Biol 160:3193–3208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. García N, Cuttelod A, Abdul Malak D (2010) The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Northern Africa. Ed. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, Cambridge, UK, and Malaga, Spain, p 141Google Scholar
  20. Guezi R, Chaoui L, Kara MH (2017) Life history of the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus in brackish water habitat of Algerian low Sahara. Environ Biol Fish 100(5):481–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kara MH (2012) Freshwater fish diversity in Algeria with emphasis on alien species. Eur J Wildl Res 58:243–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kara MH, Quignard JP (2019) Fishes in lagoons and estuaries in the Mediterranean 2. Sedentary fish. ISTE-Wiley Ed. 418 pp.Google Scholar
  23. Kessabi K, Navarro A, Casado M, Saïd K, Messaoudi I, Piña B (2010) Evaluation of environmental impact on natural populations of the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus by quantitative RNA biomarkers. Mar Environ Res 70(3–4):327–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kiener A, Schachter D (1974) Polymorphisme d’Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827(Poisson Cyprinodontidae) des eaux saumâtres. (Populations de Corse et de la lagune italienne de Comacchio). B Mus Natl Hist Nat 142:317–339Google Scholar
  25. Kraiem MM (1983) Les poissons d’eau douce de Tunisie: inventaire comment et répartition géographique. Bull Inst Natl Sci Tech Océanogr Pêche Salammbô 10:107–124Google Scholar
  26. Lee RM (1920) A review of the methods of age and growth determination in fishes by means of scales. Fishery Invest., Lond., SeT. 2, vol. 4 no. 2Google Scholar
  27. Leonardos ID (1996) Population dynamics of toothcarp (Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827) in the Mesolongi and Etolikon lagoons. Dissertation, University of ThessalonikiGoogle Scholar
  28. Leonardos I, Sinis A (1998) Reproductive strategy of Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827 (Pisces: Cyprinodontidae) in the Mesolongi and Etolikon lagoons (W. Greece). Fish Res 35:171–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leonardos ID, Sinis A (1999a) Population age and sex structure of Aphanius fasciatus Nardo1827 (Pisces: Cyprinodontidae) in the Mesolongi and Etolikon lagoons (W. Greece). Fish Res 40:227–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leonardos I, Sinis A (1999b) Population age and sex structure of Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827 (Pisces: Cyprinodontidae) in the Mesolongi and Etolikon lagoons (W. Greece). Fish Res 40:227–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leonardos I, Sinis A (1999c) Age growth and mortality of Aphanius fasciatus (Nardo 1827) (Pisces: Cyprinodontidae) in the Mesolongi and Etolikon lagoons (Western Greece). Contributions to the Zoogeography and Ecology of the Eastern Mediterranean Region 1:327–335Google Scholar
  32. Leonardos ID, Kagalou I, Tsoumani M, Economidis PS (2008) Fish fauna in a protected Greek lake: biodiversity introduced fish species over a 80-year period and their impacts on the ecosystem. Ecol Freshw Fish 17(1):165–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Maltagliati F (1998a) A preliminary investigation of allozyme genetic variation and population geographical structure in Aphanius fasciatus from Italian brackish-water habitats. J Fish Biol 52:1130–1140Google Scholar
  34. Maltagliati F (1998b) Does the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) fit the one-dimensional stepping-stone model of gene flow? Environ Biol Fish 53:385–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maltagliati F (1999) Genetic divergence in natural populations of the Mediterranean brackish-water killifish Aphanius fasciatus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 179:155–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maltagliati F (2002) Genetic monitoring of brackish-water populations: the Mediterranean toothcarp Aphanius fasciatus (Cyprinodontidae) as a model. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 235:257–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Maltagliati F, Camilli L (2000) Temporal genetic variation in a population of Aphanius fasciatus (Cyprinodontidae) from a brackish-water habitat at Elba Island (Italy). Environ Biol Fish 57(1):107–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Messaoudi I, Kessabi K, Kacem A, Saïd K (2009) Incidence of spinal deformities in natural populations of Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827 from the Gulf of Gabes Tunisia. Afr J Ecol 47(3):360–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Munro JL, Pauly D (1983) A simple method for comparing the growth of fishes and invertebrates. Fishbyte 1(1):5–6Google Scholar
  40. Ozeren SC (2009) Age growth and reproductive biology of the sand smelt Atherina boyeri Risso 1810 (Pisces: Atherinidae) in Lake Iznik Turkey. J Fish Intern 4(2):34–39Google Scholar
  41. Pappalardo AM, Ferrito V, Messina A, Guarino F, Patarnello T, De Pinto V, Tigano C (2008) Genetic structure of the killifish Aphanius fasciatus Nardo 1827 (Teleostei Cyprinodontidae) results of mitochondrial DNA analysis. J Fish Biol 72(5):1154–1173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pappalardo AM, González EG, Tigano C, Doadrio I, Ferrito V (2015) Comparative pattern of genetic structure in two Mediterranean killifishes Aphanius fasciatus and Aphanius iberus inferred from both mitochondrial and nuclear data. J Fish Biol 87(1):69–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Patimar R, Rishkhori KM, Sabiani A (2011) Age growth and reproductive characteristics of the Turkmenian crested loach Metaschistura cristata (Nemacheilidae). Folia Zool 60(4):302–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Penaz M, Zaki MI (1985) Cyprinodont fishes of Lake Mariut Egypt. Folia Zool Brno 34(4):373–384Google Scholar
  45. Prager MH, Saila SB, Recksiek CW (1989) FISHPARM: a microcomputer program for parameter estimation of nonlinear models in fishery science. Old Dominion University Research FoundationGoogle Scholar
  46. Triantafyllidis A, Leonardos I, Bista I, Kyriazis ID et al (2007) Phylogeography and genetic structure of the Mediterranean killifish Aphanius fasciatus (Cyprinodontidae). Mar Biol 152(5):1159–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Use of Fishes in Reserach Committee (joint committee of the American Fisheries Society, the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists, and the American Society ofIchthyologists and Herpetologists) (2014) Guidelines for theuse of fishes in research. American Fisheries Society,Bethesda, MarylandGoogle Scholar
  48. Von Bertalanffy L (1938) A quantitative theory of organic growth (inquiries on growth laws II). Hum Biol 10:181–213Google Scholar
  49. Weatherley A H, Gill H S (1987) Tissues and growth. The biology of fish growth 147–175Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Bioresources LaboratoryAnnaba University Badji-MokhtarAnnabaAlgeria

Personalised recommendations