oa African Zoology - Growth of Clarias gariepinus in Lake Sibaya, South Africa

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Pectoral spines from 750 Clarias gariepinus (Pisces:Clariidae) from Lake Sibaya were used for age and growth determinations. The spines have clear rings in the bone matrix. Rings formed on otoliths, vertebrae and opercula were less useful. A close correlation between ages determined from length frequency data and ages obtained by back-calculation of lengths for different ring classes exists. Spine rings are laid down annually, except in the first year. C. gariepinus in Lake Sibaya grow rapidly and remain in good condition to a length of about 500 mm (age 3+ years) but of the larger catfish, few exceed 650 mm (7 + years). Males grow slightly faster than females, and modal sizes are 580 - 590 mm TL, and 540 - 550 mm TL. Over one third of the adult population measures between 500 and 600 mm TL due to the sharp deceleration of growth rate after 500 mm TL. Modal length and growth rate of Sibaya catfish is equal to that of other C. gariepinus populations, but the number and condition of larger individuals is lower, probably because of inadequate food resources in deep water.

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