Brycinus imberi, formerly called Alestes imberi, is a micropredatory characin that can exceed 23 cm (9 inches) in length. It eats insects, occasional mollusks, and even aquatic plants, according to Worthington (1933). This widely distributed species, found from the Congo basin to the Pongolo River system in Natal (Jubb, 1967), is one of only two characins found in Lake Malawi. It is seen in shoals swimming around estuaries and sheltered lake waters, particularly in the southern part of the lake (Jackson, 1961).
An excellent summary of the biology of B. imberi throughout its vast range is available, in French, here.
Recently, Brycinus, Alestes, and all other African characins have been removed from the family Characidae to a separate family Alestiidae by some authorities, although the phylogenetic evidence for this is still controversial.
The above illustration by Hilda M. Jubb, from Jubb (1967), is used by kind permission of Mr. A. T. Balkema of A. A. Balkema Publishers, Rotterdam.
|Last Update: 30 April 2003
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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