The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s biodiversity of fish is widely dominated by various catfish species. Being the second largest country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo boasts of housing over 400 fish species, several of which are endemic to the country. The county’s marine life is along the Atlantic coast, in rivers with the largest being the Congo River and its tributaries and in several lakes such as Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kivu. Some of these native fish of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are looked at below.
Native Fish Of The Democratic Republic Of The Congo
Ubangui Loach Catfish (Tetracamphilius angustifrons)
The Ubangui Loach Catfish (Tetracamphilius angustifrons) inhabits the Ubangui River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a species of the Loach catfish, found abundantly throughout tropical Africa. The fish can cling to rocks in rapid streams through the aid of its tentacles, lips and minute spines on the fine rays. The species is small and mostly does not grow over 12 centimeters in length. The fish is characterized by three pairs of barbels, large pectoral and ventral fins and small eyes situated in the upper region of the head.
Central Congo Tetra (Clupeocharax schoutedeni)
The Central Congo Tetra (Clupeocharax schoutedeni) is a native fish of the Congo River Basin. The fish is characterized by iridescent colors ranging from blue on its top, red in the middle to yellow-gold and blue above its belly. The fish has a grayish-violet tail fin with white edges. The female grows up to 6 centimeters, and lengths of 8.5 centimeters are seen in the males. The fish is an omnivorous feeder, and the female lays eggs during reproduction. Crustaceans, plant matter, and insects are all included in its diet. The species is listed as Least Concern as no major threats to its sustainability have been identified. The species is also quite popular in the aquarium trade due to its attractive colors.
Lake Tanganyika Electric Catfish (Malapterurus tanganyikaensis)
The Lake Tanganyika Electric Catfish (Malapterurus tanganyikaensis) is abundant in Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name electric is about its feeding of fish stunned by electric shocks. The fish has an electrogenic organ, which can produce between 300 to 400 volts and which is used for both defense and capture. The fish mostly lives in standing and shallow water and breeds in excavated holes. The fish has an elongated body and notably lacks a dorsal fin. Its back and sides are grayish-brown in color while the ventral side is white or cream. The fish has been listed as being of "Least Concern" as their has not been any notable decrease of its population. Over-fishing is, however, an emerging environmental threat to the species.
Lake Rukwa Minnow (Raiamas moorii)
The Lake Rukwa Minnow (Raiamas moorii) inhabits Lake Tanganyika and Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The fish is also found in the rivers and streams that feed these lakes. The fish feeds on insects and smaller fish, and it moves up the rivers to spawn. The species has been listed as Least Concern. Illegal fishing, pollution, and erosion have been identified as the major threats to its sustainability.
Threats to Congolese Fish
Other native fishes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the Boyoma Falls Upside Down Catfish, the Ruwenzori Lampeye, the Line-Spotted Ufipa Barb, the Arnegard’s Electric Fish, the Kunungu Air-Breathing Catfish, and the Angel Squeaker. The freshwater and oceanic native fish species of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to face environmental threats including land pollution and unregulated fishing activities.