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Ecology and Biodiversity: Classification of Organisms:

Fish Species of the Orange Senqu River


Fish are usually a major biological component of riverine ecosystems and contribute to biological diversity in a broad sense. The number of fish species present in a river can influence the physical structure and water quality of the aquatic environment and thereby determine conditions for a range of other aquatic and non-aquatic life (Arthington et al 1999).

Despite being the third largest river in Southern Africa the Orange Senqu has relatively low freshwater fish species diversity. Studies have revealed the presence of at least 33 fish species in the Orange-Senqu River. At least fifteen (45%) of the fish species recorded in recent surveys are indigenous to the Basin.

The table below provides a summary of some of the indigenous species found in the basin:

Table: Fish River Species in Orange Senqu River Basin


Common name




Minnows, yellowfishes, mudfishes



Barbus anoplus




Barbus hospes  




Barbus pallidus




Barbus trimaculatus




Labeobarbus aeneus  




Labeobarbus kimberleyensis  




Labeo capensis 




Labeo umbratus  




Mesobola brevianalis




Pseudobarbus quathlambae 








Austroglanis sclateri




Clarias gariepinus








Pseudocrenilabrus philander




Tilapia sparrmanii








Anguilla mossambica




adapted from Lamberth 2003

In Lesotho fishing does not play a significant role in the economy but is important for subsistence here and there. In Namibia the maritime  fishery sector contributes significantly to the GDP. In Botswana's part of the Orange-Senqu River basin fishing is virtually non-existent.The area around the estuary of the Orange-Senqu River contributes significantly to the value of estuarine fisheries in South Africa




Explore the sub-basins of the Orange-Senqu River

Tour video scenes along the Orange-Senqu River related to the River Basin

Investigate land cover and terrestrial ecoregions in the basin

Examine how the hydrologic cycle moves water through and around the earth

Explore the interactions of living organisms in aquatic environments

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