Original Articles

THF DISTRIBUTION AND STATUS OF KNERIA AURICULATA (PELLEGRIN)(PISCES: KNERIIDAE) IN THE TRANSVAAL


Abstract

The distribution of Kneria auriculata in the upper reaches of the Crocodile River (Incomati River System) was determined. Knevia auriculata shows a preference for cold mountain streams with calm pools. Five isolated populations exist in such streams. Although no accurate technique for the precise determination of the status of this species is possible, there appears to be a total of more than 90 000 individuals in the five habitats. The presence of trout in their presently low numbers is apparently not a threat to all populations of Knevia auriculata, but has seriously limited the range of one population. In addition the incursion of exotic plants such as black wattle (Acacia spp.) and poplar (Populus spp.) on the banks of most of the streams in which this fish occurs, do not have a noticeable detrimental effect on any of the five populations. However, erosion of the stream banks is visible, which may pose a further threat if habitat deterioration is allowed to progress unhindered. The construction of an irrigation dam in the Crocodile River will partly destroy the habitat of one important population.

Get new issue alerts for Journal of the Limnological Society of Southern Africa