Nothobranchius kadleci , Reichard, Martin, 2010

Reichard, Martin, 2010, Nothobranchius kadleci (Cyprinodontiformes: Nothobranchiidae), a new species of annual killifish from central Mozambique, Zootaxa 2332, pp. 49-60: 51-59

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.275480

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Nothobranchius kadleci

new species

Nothobranchius kadleci  , new species

Figs. 1View FIGURE 1. A & 2View FIGURE 2, Table 1

Holotype. ZMB 33909View Materials, male, 38.1 mm SL, Sofala Province, Mozambique, temporary pool about 100 m from the main EN 1 national road, not connected to any permanent river system, 20 ° 41.3 ' S, 34 ° 0 6. 4 ' E (collection code MZCS 08/ 91), collected by Martin Reichard, Matej Polačik, Ondřej Sedláček, 18 February 2008.

Paratypes. ZMB 33910View Materials, female, 32.2 mm SL; MRAC 2009 - 12 -P- 1, male, 40.2 mm SL; MRAC 2009 - 12 - P- 2, female, 35.8 mm SL; NMP P 6 VView Materials 86687, male, 36.1 mm SL; NMP P 6 VView Materials 86688, female, 31.0 mm SL. All paratypes share same collection data as holotype.

Non-type material. MZCS-08/99, 3 males and 3 females, Pungwe River Basin, Sofala Province, Mozambique, 19 ° 17.4 ' S, 34 ° 13.8 ' E; MZCS-08/107, 5 males, border of Save and Gorongose River Basins, Sofala Province, Mozambique, 21 ° 00.9' S, 34 ° 27.8 ' E.

Diagnosis. Nothobranchius kadleci  is distinguished from N. furzeri  by the smaller depth of the dorsal fin (17.9 –31.0 % SL vs. 27.4–37.7 % SL in N. furzeri  in males, 14.9–17.6 % SL vs. 19.0– 21.9 % SL in females) and smaller depth of the anal fin (17.4–25.8 % SL vs. 22.4–32.4 % SL in N. furzeri  in males, 17.3–19.2 % SL vs. 19.3–24.5 % SL in females), larger preanal distance (64.0– 65.8 % SL vs. 58.9–61.3 % SL in N. furzeri  ) in females and presence of red colour on gill membrane and lips and red pectoral fins ( N. furzeri  does not possess red colour on gill membrane and lips and typically have yellow pectoral fins), absence of black marginal band on caudal fin (present in some male N. furzeri  ), and a higher amount of red on caudal and dorsal fins and on body in males.

It is distinguished from sympatric N. orthonotus  (including putative N. kuhntae  and N. mayeri  ) by the shape of the frontal region (convex in N. kadleci  , flat in N. orthonotus  ), the presence of red pectoral fins with white margins, often with a bluish tint ( N. orthonotus  possess transparent or whitish pectoral fins with red margins), red background colour on the head covered with small to large light blue marking ( N. orthonotus  possess red spots on white to grey background colour of the head and, in most populations, also on anterior ventral part of the body), shorter preanal distance (range 58.4–61.2 % SL vs. 62.7–72.5 % SL in N. orthonotus  ), and distance between pelvic and anal fins (10.2–13.5 % SL vs. 13.4–16.6 % SL) in males.

Nothobranchius kadleci  differs from sympatric N. rachovii  in males by a lack of black margin of the caudal fin, distance between pectoral and pelvic fins (15.1–21.7 % SL vs. 12.8–16.7 % SL in N. rachovii  ), minimal body depth (15.0– 16.9 % SL vs. 13.5–15.4 % SL) and eye diameter (22.1–27.3 % HL vs. 26.0– 32.6 % HL) and in females by preanal distance (64.0– 65.8 % SL vs. 61.8–64.5 % SL), length of caudal peduncle (20.1–21.6 % SL vs. 13.4–20.1 % SL), depth of dorsal fin (14.9–17.6 % SL vs. 16.8–23.2 % SL), and depth of anal fin (17.3–19.2 % SL vs. 21.0– 23.2 % SL).

Description. Morphology and general body shape similar to N. furzeri  ( Figs. 1View FIGURE 1. A & 2View FIGURE 2, Table 1). A robust Nothobranchius  species with a characteristic convex frontal region, in mature males sometimes exaggerated into a distinctive frontal hump. The dorsal fin 13–14 rays, anal fin 13–14 rays (up to 16 in females), pelvic fin 6 rays and pectoral fin 16–18 rays. In males, pectoral fins typically overlap with pelvic fins (50 % of the pectoral fin is beyond the anterior margin of pelvic fin). Pelvic fins reach or slightly overlap the base of the anal fin. The longest rays of dorsal and anal fins reach or extend beyond the anterior margin of the caudal fin. In females, the longest rays of the pelvic fin just reach the anal fin base. About 30 % of the pectoral fin extends beyond the base of the pelvic fin. The tip of female anal fin does not reach the caudal fin, but the dorsal fin sometimes reaches the caudal fin. The longitudinal series possesses 27–29 scales; one large male (50.2 mm SL) with 34 scales in the longitudinal series was recorded.

Live colouration. Males. Colouration varies from deep red to light blue and appears to be continuous rather than falling into two discrete colour forms ( Figs. 2View FIGURE 2 & 3View FIGURE 3). Fully red males have an entirely red caudal fin. The dorsal fin is red with a narrow white margin and white (over the entire fin) or yellow (in the anterior 1 / 3 of the fin) irregular dots and lines on the fin membrane. The anal fin is red with a narrow white margin and white dots or lines, though white marking is less developed than in the dorsal fin. Pectoral fins are red with white or light blue tips. Ventral fins are red, sometimes with traces of white marking. The body is red, including the head, lips and gill membrane. Scales have large light blue centres, giving an impression of a reticulated pattern on the entire body. In blue males, the base colour of the fins is also red, but light blue (or sometimes whitish) dots and lines are abundant on all fins except for the pectoral fins (which are always red in wild, sexually mature males, though red colour may be less developed in subadult males). In blue males, especially subadult specimens, light blue marking on the body covers a large extent of the red, including a large area of the head. The eyes of all males are orange to gold with a dark vertical band.

Females. All fins are transparent. A slight yellowish tint may be present on the distal part of the dorsal and anal fins. The body is light yellow to light brown, with the posterior part of scales shining an iridescent light blue. Sometimes (<10 % of specimens), small black dots appear on the body. The eye is orange to gold, with a black vertical band.

Colouration in preservative. After one year of preservation in 4 % formaldehyde solution, male colouration was yellow to light brown (similar to live colouration of females), and the pelvic part whitish ( Fig. 1 AView FIGURE 1. A). Black marking is present on the opercular region, gill membrane and distal part of dorsal fin of some individuals (including the holotype). Small black dots are present on the caudal and dorsal fins. The anal, pelvic and pectoral fins are orange. Female body colouration is identical and fins are transparent. Rarely, the black dots are visible.

Males Females

Distribution. This new species was found in 12 populations from a relatively large area in central Mozambique, north of the Save River, including the basin of the Save, Gorongose, Pungwe and Zangue Rivers ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4, Table 2). The altitude of collections sites ranged from 24–82 m above sea level. The latitudinal extent of the range of N. kadleci  is over 300 km primarily along the north-south axis.

Habitats. All populations of N. kadleci  were found in small temporary pools varying from 3.5– 2150 m 2, with a maximum depth of 10–70 cm in 2008 and 50 –100 cm in 2009, very turbid water and soft muddy bottom ( Fig. 5View FIGURE 5, Table 2). Littoral vegetation was present in 50 % of the pools, with scarce Nymphaea  sp. vegetation in two pools. Conductivity ranged from 68–300 Μ 2 and water temperature during collection was 27.7–38.2 °C. Sympatric fish species included N. orthonotus  (10 cases), N. rachovii  (2 cases), an unidentified small Barbus  sp. (2 cases), Tilapia  sp. (1 case), Protopterus  sp. (1 case) and Clarias gariepinus  (1 case).

Etymology. The species is named in honour of the late Jaroslav Kadlec (1951–2006) from Brno, Czech Republic, a renowned killifish breeder recognized worldwide for his articles on killifish breeding, ecology, and his photographs. To be pronounced “khadlatsi”.

Latitude Longitude Altitude Conductivity Temperature Max. depth Sympatric species

(masl) (ΜS. cm - 2) (°C) (cm)

MZCS 08/ 91 * 20 ° 41.3 ' S 34 ° 06.4' E 62 300 38.2 10

MZCS 08/ 92 19 ° 19.6 ' S 34 ° 18.5 ' E 24 173 33.5 50

The external morphology of Nothobranchius kadleci  is similar to that of N. furzeri  , but the two species clearly differ in their colouration ( Figs. 2View FIGURE 2 & 3View FIGURE 3) and have apparently allopatric distribution. Many Nothobranchius  species, including N. furzeri  , occur in two distinct colour morphs. In other Nothobranchius  species, more continuous colour variation is found ( Wildekamp 2004). This appears to be the case in N. kadleci  , with a continuous variation from fully red males with some light blue markings on body and fins to males with a larger extent of blue on their body and fins. Additionally, the amount of red also appears to increase with the age of the fish. Some female N. kadleci  have irregular black dots on their bodies (especially at MZCS-08/ 107, but also MZCS-08/ 91) which is characteristic for some populations of N. orthonotus  (especially in vicinity of the city of Beira), but lacking in all known N. furzeri  populations.

The Save River forms an apparent range boundary between N. kadleci  (north of the Save) and N. furzeri  (south of the Save). This is confirmed by a thorough sampling effort ( Wood 2000; Terzibasi et al. 2008; Reichard et al. 2009). The species status is supported by the analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers (Reichard et al., unpublished data), with N. kadleci  being a sister species of N. furzeri  .

Two populations of Nothobranchius kadleci  were imported and are bred in the aquarium facilities of the Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and distributed among dedicated killifish breeders under the names Nothobranchius  sp. aff. furzeri  MZCS-08/ 91 Gorongose and Nothobranchius  sp. aff. furzeri  MZCS-08/ 108 Save. It should be noted that the fish described here as N. kadleci  was collected in central Mozambique in May 1970 on the floodplain of the Pungwe River by D.

Plowes (R. Wildekamp, personal communication) and in 1973 in the vicinity of the town Vila Machado (now Nhamatanda) in the Pungwe River basin by D. G. Donnelly (B. Watters, personal communication). It has never been recollected and it was regarded as a very red colour form of N. orthonotus  (known as Nothobranchius  sp. Vila Machado) (B. Watters, personal communication). All subsequent collections in the area were performed in April or May after the cessation of the rainy season. In contrast, our sampling was carried out in February (during the rainy season). It is possible that, similar to N. furzeri  , N. kadleci  is a shortlived species inhabiting shallow pools that desiccate earlier than those inhabited by other Nothobranchius  species in the area. Indeed, within the same site N. kadleci  were often found in shallower pools, while adjacent (<10 m) deeper pools were inhabited by N. orthonotus  and N. rachovii  . At other sites, all three species were syntopic at the time of collection. Nothobranchius kadleci  has never been recorded in lowland floodplains (such as in the vicinity of Beira).

In conclusion, N. kadleci  may be a short-lived rather than rare species and occurs in a range of small temporary pools between the Save and Zambezi River. It is expected that it might play an important role in the comparative research on aging where N. furzeri  (from drier regions than N. kadleci  ) is becoming a model species due to its short lifespan ( Valdesalici & Cellerino 2003; Genade et al. 2005; Terzibasi et al. 2007; Terzibasi et al. 2008)

TABLE 1. Morphometric measurements of N. kadleci and N. furzeri. Standard length and head length are given, with other variables expressed as a percentage of standard and head lengths, respectively. Measurements taken on male N. kadleci (including holotype for which the value is given separately) and male N. furzeri were tested using a t - test. Characters that were significantly different between N. kadleci and N. furzeri (P <0.05) are marked by an asterisk.

  Holotype     N. kadleci  (N=3)  
      123.7 119.7 -128.2    
    85.5 78.2 -102.1      

TABLE 2. Geographic coordinates and habitat characteristics of 12 sites with N. kadleci researched during the 2008 and 2009 MZCS expeditions.

  109 33.1    
  250 28.5    
  199 27.7    

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Zoological Collections)


Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale


Natal Museum


Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport