Algeria shares much of its fish biodiversity in both the Mediterranean Sea and its freshwater resources with neighboring Tunisia. Most of these species are not threatened, but their geographical distribution ranges usually overlap with marine protected areas as in the Ringneck Blenny. Algerian Finless Aphanius obtained this name from being the only member in the Aphanius genus without pectoral fins. Other native fish species of Algeria include North African Haplo, Algerian Barb, and the Algerian Trout. This broad distribution keeps the populations in sufficient numbers, unlike species that exhibit type locality. Below are some of Algeria’s endemic fish species, their physical descriptions, diets, reproduction, and habitats.
Algerian Finless Aphanius (Aphanius apodus)
The Algeria Finless Aphanius is a fish species in the family Cyprinodontidae. Aphanius Apodus can grow up to 40 to 45 millimeters in length. It has no pectoral fins. Males have yellow bellies with six to eight vertical bars and irregularly distributed spots near the caudal peduncle. Females, on the other hand, are larger, plainer, having a small number of dark spots on the flanks but the finnage is entirely hyaline. Small aquatic crustaceans constitute the main diet, but it also feeds on worms, larvae, algae, zooplanktons and plant materials. This species is endemic to the Tellian Atlas Mountains, northeastern Algeria.It is a freshwater species preferring to inhabit springs, ponds, and streams where aquatic vegetation and filamentous algae grow in abundant.The fish breed from April to September. The females lay single eggs or a cluster of them where they become attached to algae and other surfaces through tiny filaments. The incubation period is usually 7 to 14 days.
North African Haplo (Astatotilapia desfontainii)
The North African Haplo is a cichlid species endemic to Algeria and Tunisia. It is a freshwater species living in springs, canals, ditches, and irrigated land surfaces. It prefers warm waters and is particularly numerous in water bodies having 60 degrees Celsius. At maturity, North African Haplo reaches 15 centimeters in length. Males have an olive-green base color with each of the scales having a small dot that reflects a bright blue-green coloration.These species also exhibit mouth brooding by females. Water abstraction for agriculture, especially in the dates plantation, constitute the primary causes of habitat loss. Other reasons include extraction of ground water for irrigation, construction and then channelization of artificial water courses and also drought. Currently, there are no efforts put forward to conserve and protect this species.
Ringneck Blenny (Parablennius pilicornis)
The Ringneck Blenny is a comb-tooth blenny species found in Algeria, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, and Mowe Bay, as well as other countries along both the Southwest Atlantic Ocean and Western Indian Ocean. The species prefers to live in depth ranges of 0 to 25 meters. The body has dark bands on the upper sides and dark spots on the undersides. There are other dark bands in the bottom region of the head. The pectorals have a pale to dusky color whereas the dorsal is dark or has many spots. Adults live on the rocky shores and at surf-exposed steep walls. This fish is oviparous, and eggs get attached to substrates through tiny filaments. The larvae are planktonic occurring mostly in shallow coastal waters. No known threats are facing this species. Also, there are no conservation efforts in place, but the species distribution range overlaps several areas protected by the Marine.
Algerian Barb (Barbus callensis)
The Algerian Barb is a fish species in Cyprinidae family. This ray-finned species is endemic to the Kebir River of Algeria, the central regions of Tunisia, and perhaps even Morocco. The species natural habitats include rivers, water storage area, and freshwater lakes. Algae, microzoobenthos, larvae, and small fish constitute this species diet. Spawning takes place in spring, and during this time the Algerian Barb considerably reduces feeding or stops doing so altogether. The species has a good distribution and is abundant in population, thus not considered as a threatened species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Algerian Trout (Salmo macrostigma)
The Algerian Trout is a trout species endemic to Algeria. Its diet mainly comprises of insects, tadpoles, and urodela. The dorsal fin is short in length than its height, and its location is more posterior than in other Salmo species. The caudal fin is forked, round, and has black spots on the sides. The primary threat facing this species is the hybridization with the newly introduced trout species.
Fish Conservation in Algeria
These fishes have found a home in the waters of Algeria. So far, they are abundant in numbers and widely distributed, so they are hardly a concern according to the IUCN. However, more studies are needed on some species like the Algerian trout and Algerian Barb, to study their biology, reproduction, and behaviors. The country should also put conservation efforts and breed some of these species in captivity for a better understanding of their biology.
Native Fish Species Of Algeria
|Native Fish of Algeria||Scientific Name|
|Algerian Finless Aphanius||Aphanius apodus|
|Algerian Trout||Salmo macrostigma|
|North African Haplo||Astatotilapia desfontainii|
|Algerian Barb||Barbus callensis|
|Ringneck Blenny||Parablennius pilicornis|