Morphometric Relationships among the Clariid Fishes of the Lake Victoria Basin, Tanzania


Six hundred and fifty-eight specimens of the Clariidae were collected from seven localities in the Lake Victoria basin and the Malagarasi wetland, Tanzania. A total of three hundred unadjusted morphometric measurements and meristic counts were analysed with the aim of assessing the adequacy of morphometric technique to delineate the clariid species occurring in theLake Victoriabasin. Results showed that morphometrics augmented by multivariate analysis (PCA, DCA and cluster analysis) amalgamated the clariid fishes into three groups, the Clarias alluaudi/C. werneri, C. gariepinus/C. liocephalus andClariallabes petricola. Although other workers have used this technique, the present study concluded that, standing alone morphometrics is not a substitute for external morphology in the identification of clariid fish species, as it failed to separate the clariids into their respective taxonomic species. The technique, however, insinuates the regressional morphological relationships among the clariids occurring in the Lake Victoria basin.

Share and Cite:

Mwita, C. (2015) Morphometric Relationships among the Clariid Fishes of the Lake Victoria Basin, Tanzania. Open Journal of Marine Science, 5, 26-32. doi: 10.4236/ojms.2015.51003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Cabuy, E., Adriaens, D., Verraes, W. and Teugels, G.G. (1999) Comparative Study on the Cranial Morphology of Gymnallabes typus (Siluriformes: Clariidae) and Their Less Anguilliform Relatives, Clariallabes melas and Clarias gariepinus. Journal of Morphology, 240, 169-194.<169::AID-JMOR7>3.0.CO;2-3
[2] Eccles, D.H. (1992) FAO Species Identification Sheets for Fishery Purposes. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Tanzania. UNDP Project URT/87/016, Rome.
[3] Alexander, R.M. (1965) Structure and Function in the Catfish. Journal of Zoology, 148, 88-152.
[4] Witte, F. and Van Densen, W.L.T. (1995) Fish Stock and Fisheries of Lake Victoria. A Handbook for Field Observation, Samara Publishing House. Samara House, Cardigan.
[5] Babik, W. and Rafinski, J. (2000) Morphometric Differentiation of the Moor Frog (Rana arvalis Nilss.) in Central Europe. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 38, 239-247.
[6] Dresilign, E.D. (2003) The Small Barbs (Cyprinidae: Teleostei) of a Tropical Highland Lake (L. Tana, Ethiopia): Their Ecology and Potential for Fishery. Ph.D. Dissertation, Wageningen.
[7] Kappes, H. and Sinsch, U. (2002) Morphological Variation in Bosmina longirostris (O. F. Müller, 1785) (Crustacea: Cladocera): Consequence of Cyclomorphosis or Indication of Cryptic Species? Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 40, 113-122.
[8] Künzel, W., Breit, S. and Oppel, M. (2003) Morphometric Investigations of Breed-Specific Features in Feline Skulls and Considerations on Their Functional Implications. Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, 32, 218-223.
[9] Teugels, G.G. (1986) A Systematic Revision of the African Species of the Genus Clarias (Pisces; Clariidae). Annales Musee Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, 247, 1-199.
[10] Ling, N., Gleeson, D.M., Willis, K.J. and Binzegger, S.U. (2001) Creating and Destroying Species: The “New” Biodiversity and Evolutionarily Significant Units among New Zealand’s Galaxiid Fishes. Journal of Fish Biology, 59, 209-222.
[11] Skelton, P. (1993) A Complete Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers (Pty) Ltd., Halfway House.
[12] Agnese, J.F. and Teugels, G.G. (2005) Insight into the Phylogeny of African Clariidae (Teleostei: Siluriformes): Implications for Their Body Shape Evolution, Biogeography and Taxonomy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 36, 546-553.
[13] Mwita, C. and Nkwengulila, G. (2008) Molecular Phylogeny of the Clariid Fishes of Lake Victoria, Tanzania, Inferred from Cytochrome b DNA Sequences. Journal of Fish Biology, 73, 1139-1148.
[14] Giddelo, C.S., Arndt, A.D. and Volckaert, F.A.M. (2002) Impact of Rifting and Hydrogeography on the Genetic Structure of Clarias gariepinus in Eastern Africa. Journal of Fish Biology, 60, 1252-1266.
[15] Johnson, T.C., Scholz, C.A., Talbot, M.R., Kelts, K., Ricketts, R.D., N’gobi, G., Beuning, K.R.M., Ssemmanda, I. and McGill, J.W. (1996) Late Pleistocene Desiccation of Lake Victoria and Rapid Evolution of Cichlid Fishes. Science, 273, 1091-1093.
[16] Agnese, J.F. and Teugels, G.G. (2001) Genetic Evidence for Monophyly of the Genus Heterobranchus and Paraphyly of the Genus Clarias (Siluriformes, Clariidae). Copeia, 2, 548-552.[0548:GEFMOT]2.0.CO;2

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.