Native Fish Species Of Kenya

Kenyan fishermen bring their daily catch to shore.
Kenyan fishermen bring their daily catch to shore.

Kenya is an East African country lying along the equator and bordering the Indian Ocean to its east. The country also borders other five countries, which include Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya's lakes and rivers are home to several endemic fish species, some of which are threatened. The country, with a high number of freshwater bodies, is home to a wide variety of marine life. Some of the native fish species in Kenya are exported to be used in aquariums, due to their distinct and striking characteristics.

Large-toothed Lake Turkana Robber (Brycinus ferox)

The Large-toothed Lake Turkana robber (Brycinus ferox) is endemic to Lake Turkana, which is situated in northern Kenya. The fish is characterized by patches of black pigments on the lower jaw and the stout. The fish has sharp pointed teeth and a pale fawn with scales that appear silvery and darker on the dorsal surface. The fish inhabits the deep waters and mainly feeds on prawns, insects, zooplankton, and smaller fish. The fish reaches maturity at 6 to 8 centimeters while its maximum length may reach 8.1 centimeters. The fish is listed as Least Concern as there has not been any notable decrease in its numbers.

Ewaso Nyiro Barb (Barbus mimus)

The Ewaso Nyiro barb (Barbus mimus) is a fish species of the Cyprinidae Family endemic to Kenyan waters. The fish is predominantly in the Ewaso Nyiro and Tana fresh water rivers. The fish grows to a maximum length of 5.5 centimeters. The fish has been listed as Least Concern, as no major threat to its sustainability has been identified.

Boji Plains Nothobranch (Nothobranchius bojiensis)

The Boji Plains nothobranch (Nothobranchius bojiensis) is a fish endemic to Kenya. The fish is named after the Boji plains, where it is found in seasonal waters fed by the Northern Ewaso Nyiro River. The Boji Plains nothobranch grows to a maximum length of 6.9 millimeters. The fish inhabits a restricted range, being sighted only in seasonal water holes and marshes near Merti in Kenya. The fish has subsequently been classified as vulnerable and is a difficult species to maintain in aquariums.

Elongate Nothobranch (Nothobranchius elongatus)

The Elongate nothobranch (Nothobranchius elongatus) is a freshwater fish endemic to Kenya. The fish is predominantly found in the Kombeni and Manjema rivers of eastern Kenya. The fish also inhabits seasonal waters of the southeastern coastal drainage near Kaloleni in Kenya. The fish has been listed as vulnerable as it has been located in less than six locations of its habitat range. The Elongate nothobranch is non-migratory and grows to a maximum length of 6.0 centimeters.

Dwarf Lake Turkana Robber (Brycinus minutus)

The Dwarf Lake Turkana robber (Brycinus minutus) is an endemic fish native to Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. The fish is characterized by a short stout, narrow interorbital space, and a marginally larger eye. The fish is scattered throughout the open waters of the lake and feeds mainly on zooplankton and insects. The fish spawns in the lake and reaches a maximum length of 3.3 centimeters. The fish has been classified as Least Concern as they are no identified threats to its population.

Other native fish species in Kenya include the Feather-barbelled squeaker, the Lake Rudolf lampeye, Bernhard's elephant-snout fish, the small-scaled nothobranch, and the Athi elephant-snout fish. The fish species in Kenya face a variety of threats, such as pollution, drying of wetlands, alien species, and degradation of water catchment regions. These factors are major threats to the sustainability of the country's endemic fish species.

Native Fish Species Of Kenya

Native Fish of KenyaSceintific Name
Large-toothed Lake Turkana robber
Brycinus ferox
Ewaso Nyiro barb
Barbus mimus
Boji Plains nothobranch
Nothobranchius bojiensis
Elongate nothobranchNothobranchius elongatus
Feather-barbelled squeaker
Synodontis manni
Dwarf Lake Turkana robberBrycinus minutus
Lake Rudolf lampeye
Aplocheilichthys rudolfianus
Bernhard's elephant-snout fish
Mormyrus bernhardi
Small-scaled nothobranch
Nothobranchius microlepis
Athi elephant-snout fish
Mormyrus tenuirostris

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