Alestes baremoze (Joannis, 1835)
Status: Accepted name

Common names:

Taxonomic tree
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Alestidae (African tetras)
Genus: Alestes Müller & Troschel 1844
Species: Alestes baremoze (Joannis, 1835)
Number of Occurrancies: 111

Etymology (based on Scharpf & Lazara, 2019)

  • Alestes: Greek for miller or grinder, presumably referring to inner row of premaxillary molariform teeth.

  • baremoze: Arabian name for this species along the Nile in Egypt.

SynonymsClick here to view other names

Type locality: Nile River at Thebes, Egypt. Syntypes at Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN).

Distinguishing characters for the genus

  • Short snout.

  • Small and non-protractile mouth; teeth firmly fixed, those of the outer series stout and not compressed basally.

  • Two series of functional multi-cuspidate teeth in the upper jaw, the outer series usually tri-cuspid and less massive than the stout, many cusped teeth in the inner series.

Distinguishing characters for the species

  • Dorsal fin with 10-11 rays, the first two unbranched; its origin distinctly behind level of pelvic-fin insertions (Diagnostic)

  • Gill rakers long, slender and numerous, 27-38 on the lower limb of the first gill arch (Diagnostic)

  • Depth of the body contained up to 3.5-4.75 times in standard length, and length of the head 4.5 (in young) to 6 times

  • Head 1.5 to twice as long as broad, and a well developed parietal fontanelle

  • Eye diameter 3.25 (in young) to 4 times in head length; well developed adipose lids

  • Maxilla not reaching the anterior orbital margin.

  • 6 and 8 teeth in the outer and inner series of the upper jaw, 8 and 2 in these series in the lower jaw

  • Anal fin with 22-26 rays, the first three uncbranched

  • Lateral line with 44-50 scales.

  • Color is silver, bluish-grey above. Dorsal fin grey, lower caudal lobe red, the posterior margin of both lobes outlined in black. In adult fishes, the pelvic and anal fins have an orange-red flush

Taxonomic remarks: The species closely resembles Alestes dentex, but is differentiated by more numerous and slender gill rakers (compared to 20-26 in A. dentex) and the dorsal fin origin that is distinctly behind level of pelvic-fin insertions (compared to dorsal fin origin above pelvic fin insertion in A. dentex)

Distribution in Uganda: Lakes Albert, the Albert and Murchison Niles

Occurence: Native

Habitat: Pelagic, common in inshore regions; potamodromous

Feeding: Omnivorous, feeding on insect, small crustacea and, less-frequently, fish. 

Biology: Adult fishes range between 30-55 cm long. No information is available on breeding for the Ugandan populations.

Economic importance/End use: The species supports a commercial fishery on Lake Abert and Albert Nile. Data for 2012 suggests annual catches were about 2000 tonnes, with beach value of $2.0 million (Mbabazi et al. 2012)

IUCN conservation status: Click here

Threats: Fishing

Main references

  • Greenwood PH. 1966. The fishes of Uganda. The Uganda Society, Kampala. 131 pages.

  • Sharpf C, Lazara J.K. 2019. Fish Name Etymology Database v17.

  • Mbabazi D, Taabu-Munyaho M, Muhoozi L.I, Nakiyende H, Bassa S, Muhumuza E, Amiina R, Balirwa J. 2012. The past, present and projected scenarios in the Lake Albert and Albert Nile fisheries: Implications for sustainable management. Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 13 (2): 47-64.


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Natugonza, V. & Musinguzi, L. (editors) 2021. Freshwater Biodiversity Portal for Uganda., version (01/2021).


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