Systematics and biogeography of the redfin Barbus species (Pisces: Cyprinidae) from Southern Africa

by Skelton, P.H.

Abstract (Summary)
This study deals with the systematics and biogeography of a group of minnowlike Barbus species which, as adults, are characterized by bright red fins. The species are found in the coastal rivers of the fold belt region of the southern and south-western Cape Province. A closely related species, Oreodaimon.quathlambae, inhabits certain high altitude streams of the Drakensberg mountains.

Traditional methods were employed to revise the taxonomy of the species. Characters studied included morphometric and meristic measurements, and several qualitative anatomical features, several of which were studied in these species for the first time.

A new species, Barbus erubescens Skelton, was described during the course of the study (Appendix 3). The taxonomic status of other species are endorsed or revised (B.afer and B.asper). Each species is redescribed and figured.

The complete osteology of one redfin species, B.burchelli, is described and illustrated. Comparisons are made with all other redfin species and various osteological characters of systematic value are discussed.

The phylogeny of the redfins is studied using Hennigian methods. Comparative data from other southern African Barbus species and pertinent literature were used to determine and evaluate synapomorphic characters and character sequences. The redfins sensu lato are shown to be di phyletic. Barbus calidus Barnard and B.erubescens were found to be sister species not closely related to the other redfin species. Oreodaimon quathlambae (Barnard) is shown to be mono phyletic with the second redfin lineage. Barbus burgi Boulenger is placed as the plesiomorph sister species in this lineage and consecutive dichotomies derive Barbus burchelli (Smith); Barbus afer Peters, and Barbus asper Boulenger; Barbus phlegethon Barnard; Barbus tenuis Barnard and Oreodaimon quathlambae.

The classification of the redfins is reviewed in the light of their phylogeny and recommendations for an informal hierarchy are made. The generic status of each lineage is considered and a new genus, Pseudobarbus, erected for all the redfin species 'except B.calidus and B.erubescens, but including O.quathlambae.

The distributions of redfin species are recorded. An hypothesis is given to explain this distribution, based on a comparison of distribution patterns of a number of plant and animal species and a consideration of the geological and geographical history of southern Africa. Vicariance is suggested to be the major factor which influenced redfin distribution. A theory of dispersal explains the distribution of P.tenuis. The biogeography suggests the redfins are relatively ancient (possibly Miocene?) southern African fishes.

Suggestions are made on future studies on the redfins. Attention is drawn to possible implications of the redfin study on systematic study of southern African freshwater fishes.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:south african institute for aquatic biodiversity saiab


Date of Publication:01/01/1980

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