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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.