Biotopes of Cameroon| Benitochromis nigrodorsalis

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Benitochromis is a small genus of cichlid fishes that are endemic to riverine and lake habitats in Middle Africa (Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, including the island of Bioko). Several of these species were originally assigned to the genus Chromidotilapia.

The genus Benitochromis was erected by Dr Anton Lamboj in 2001 and currently contains six species: B. finleyi, B. batesii, B. conjunctus, B. nigrodorsalis, B. ufermanni and B. riomuniensis. It is also possible that there are a number of other Benitochromis species yet to be described.

Benitochromis nigrodorsalis | Russell Brian Tate ©

Benitochromis nigrodorsalis is a benthopelagic, non-migratory species typically occupying habitats with a pH range from 6.0 to 7.0 and a dH range from around 3 to 10. It is found in coastal rivers and creeks (Sonnenberg 2002). It is a Lower Guinea endemic, occurring in coastal regions of western Cameroon around Moliwe and Douala, and Fernando Po.

Collector Russell Brian Tate states, “This was a highlight of the trip for me, an adult Benitochromis nigrodorsalis (EN). These were found in both rain-forest streams and on the fringes and inlets of swamp-forest; A prominent tree commonly associated with the watercourses in the region was Lophira alata.

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In coastal regions of western Cameroon Benitochromis nigrodorsalis is only known from two localities around Moliwe and Douala; it is also known from the island of Fernando Po, Equatorial Guinea. There are currently no known threats to the species but commercial agriculture does pose a risk in this area as almost the entire Moliwe River runs through a palm oil plantation (IUCN Redlist 2010). Both the extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of Benitochromis nigrodorsalis qualify for the Endangered status and so it is listed by IUCN Redlist as an endangered species.

Lophira alata tree prominent in the biotope of Benitochromis nigrodorsalis
Russell Brian Tate ©
Deforested region of the biotope of Benitochromis nigrodorsalis | Russell Brian Tate ©

Water resource scientist Russell Brian Tate remarked that although not widely reported, deforestation and charcoal production are also possible threats in the area where B. nigrodorsalis exists.

Freshwater Life Project, U.K. Charity No.1172393 | Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems


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