Alestes baremoze (Joannis, 1835)
Status: Accepted name

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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: Lake Albert, Murchison and lower Victoria Niles, and River Aswa.  Possibly exant in Albert Nile and afluents of Lake Albert. Targeted sampling is needed to ascertain current status in the entire species range.

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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