Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes
(Characins) > Alestidae
Etymology: Brycinus: Greek, ebrykon, brykomai = to bite, to gnaw (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; demersal; pH range: 6.0 - 6.5; dH range: 4 - 18; potamodromous (Ref. 51243). Tropical; 22°C - 26°C (Ref. 1672); 23°S - 31°S
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 9.3  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 19.8 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2880); max. published weight: 300.00 g (Ref. 7248); max. reported age: 5 years (Ref. 7248)
soft rays: 14 - 18. Diagnosis: parietal fontanella absent in adults and porelinke in juveniles, disappearing with growth; snout short, comprised over three times in head length; dorsal-fin origin at same level as, or scarcely behind, pelvic-fin insertions; head narrow; adults medium-sized; sexual dimorphism affecting anal-fin shape in adult males; no band or spots on sides; caudal fin red, not black-edged; 4.5 scales between lateral line and dorsal fin; 21-31 lateral line scales; 11-16 anal fin branched rays; 8/8 premaxillary teeth; 16-20 gill rakers in lower part of first branchial arch (Ref. 2880, 81279).
Africa: Mono River in Togo to Nipoué River in Liberia (Ref. 2880, 81279). Also in lower Zambezi, Wami River in Tanzania to Pongolo River in South Africa; Lakes Malawi, Rukwa, Rufiji and Ruvuma; Congo basin; on the western coast in the Quanza and the Nyanga, Tanganyika tributaries, Lake Kariba, Cunene River (Ref. 5331).
Found in shallow and sheltered waters of swampy bays. Generally restricted to shallow waters where they may be found in various habitats such as over sand, rock or, less frequently, in aquatic weed beds (Ref. 13337). Common in shallow vegetated areas (Ref. 4967). Also found in large rivers and floodplain pans and lagoons. Feeds on insects, tiny fishes, vegetable matters (Ref. 5595) and crustaceans (Ref. 13337). Main predator is the tigerfish (Ref. 7248). Breeds in summer, migrating to spawning sites after rains. Migrates to tributary rivers and floodplains when the rivers come down in spate (Ref. 13337). Known to mass at river mouths while waiting for suitable conditions to trigger off the breeding migrations upstream (Ref. 13337). Used as live bait for tigerfish and large catfish (Ref. 13337). Affinities: B. carolinae, with lateral stripe; B. nigricauda with wide black margin on caudal fin.
Paugy, D., 1990. Characidae. p. 195-236. In C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and G.G. Teugels (eds.) Faune des poissons d'eaux douces et saumâtres de l'Afrique de l'Ouest. Tome I. Coll. Faune Tropicale n° XXVIII. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren et O.R.S.T.O.M., Paris, 384 p.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: subsistence fisheries; aquarium: commercial; bait: usually
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
CollaboratorsPicturesStamps, CoinsSoundsCiguateraSpeedSwim. typeGill areaOtolithsBrainsVision
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01445 (0.01137 - 0.01837), b=2.97 (2.91 - 3.03), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.3 ±0.48 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (K=1.4; tmax=5).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (10 of 100) .