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Title Fish diversity of the Pendjari National Park

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Short title Fish diversity of the Pendjari

Author(s) Moritz, T. (1); Linsenmair, K.E. (1)

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Institution(s) (1) Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, University of Würzburg

Keywords fishes; aquatic diversity; habitat choice

Abstract The Pendjari River originating in north-west Benin is the eastern most tributary of the Volta system. For more than 200 km it forms the border of the Pendjari National Park. This study aimed to provide a detailed survey on the fish diversity in this area, microhabitat preference and semi-quantitative occurrence of each species, and threats for the fish fauna. For collection non-invasive techniques have been used, like seines, traps and dip-nets, but also catches from fishermen have been recorded. All species were documented by live colouration pictures and from weakly electric fishes additionally electric organ discharges have been recorded. The study took place during 15 month of field work between May 2003 and May 2007. 97 species from 27 families have been found, several of them for the first time for this area. The most diverse family are the Cyprinidae with 20 species (14 of them belonging to the genus Barbus) followed by Mormyridae with 16, Alestidae with 9 and Mochokidae with 8 species. The Pendjari area offers a wide variety of aquatic habitats, from small brooks, which have water all through the year, to ephemeral streams, small ponds and big lakes, which may dry out during some years, and the main river. During the dry season even the main river dries out over some stretches, but is still flowing in the underground. Many fishes occur in all these habitats, but several others show preferences, e.g. Mormyrops anguilloides and Cromeria nilotica are restricted to the main river, Protopterus annectens and Brevimyrus niger on the other hand occur only in ponds and lakes.
This study was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): FZ01L0017.

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