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The inland water fishes of Africa

 | 
Didier Paugy
, 
Christian Levêque
, 
Olga Otero

Fish communities in river systems and associated biotopes

Christian Levêque et Didier Paugy

Résumé

Except for the many lakes of East Africa, most African aquatic environments are formed by rivers whose total length is estimated at 13 million km (Welcomme & Mérona, 1988). Nevertheless, the communities, in these species-rich lotic environments, are far less well-known than those of lakes and reservoirs. Sampling difficulties in fluvial environments, particularly during flood periods, are one of the main reasons for the relative scarcity of information about riverine communities.

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Extrait du texte

Dynamics of river systems and consequences for fish assemblages

Water flow varies according to seasons, as well as the morphology of the fluvial landscapes (see chapter Variability of climate and hydrological systems). The periodic shifts between floods and low water flows create a large diversity of habitats, of varying durations, that follow each other over time. For tropical rivers, changes in water level associated with the seasonal flooding of neighbouring floodplains are the main factors driving hydrosystem functioning (Welcomme, 1979; Lowe-McConnell, 1985; 1988).

In small watercourses, floods are often short-lived and unpredictable as they depend on the characteristics of local precipitation across the drainage basin. This is also the case for many rivers bordering the Sahara. During the dry season, these rivers dry up or are reduced to a series of residual pools. They are only inhabited by fishes that are able to adapt to extreme conditions, either through diapause or the abil...

Auteurs

Research director at IRD. He has published numerous works on the systematics, distribution, and ecology of West African fresh water fishes, and expanded the collections of the MNHN in Paris.

Research director at IRD. He has published numerous works on the systematics, distribution, and ecology of West African fresh water fishes, and expanded the collections of the MNHN in Paris.

© IRD Éditions, 2017

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