Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes
(Characins) > Alestidae
Etymology: Micralestes: Greek, mikros = small + Greek,lestes = thief (Ref. 45335). More on author: Peters.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; pelagic; pH range: 6.2 - 8.0; dH range: ? - 25; potamodromous (Ref. 51243). Tropical; 22°C - 26°C (Ref. 1672)
Africa: Congo, Okavango, Zambezi (Ref. 7248, 120641), Kunene and east coast rivers south to the Pongolo (Ref. 7248), Cross and Sanaga Rivers (Ref. 80290) and Tanzania (Ref. 4967). Nilo-Sudan and West-African reports of M. acutidens (e.g. Ref. 367, 51193) are misidentifications of M. elongatus (see DVD version of Ref. 81279; see also Ref. 2880).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 3.4  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 9.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4967); max. published weight: 2.00 g (Ref. 3799); max. reported age: 3.00 years (Ref. 7248)
soft rays: 17 - 20. Diagnosis: inner dentary teeth multicuspid; 14-17 anal fin branched rays; dorsal fin apical tip black; scales of flank without melanophores concentrated along basal margin, pigment diffuse or absent (Ref. 80290).
Shoals in clear, flowing or standing, open water; appears to co-exist with the tigerfish Hydrocynus forskalii in open water although it is heavily preyed upon by that predator, particularly those shoals of tigerfish ranging up to 45 cm in length (Ref. 13337). Omnivorous, often feeding from surface waters on winged insects; also takes insect larvae, crustaceans and eggs and fry of other fish (Ref. 13337). Matures after a year; partial spawner of moderate fecundity, with usually fewer than 700 eggs per female; shoals migrate upstream after first summer rains; breeds throughout the summer months; used as forage fish and as bait for tigerfish and pike (Ref. 7248).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Skelton, P.H., 1993. A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers. 388 p. (Ref. 7248)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 118484)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: commercial; bait: usually
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01230 (0.00684 - 0.02212), b=3.11 (2.95 - 3.27), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 2.9 ±0.33 se; based on food items.
Generation time: 1.8 ( na - na) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 2 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (K=0.63; tmax=3).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (23 of 100) .