Red List of South African Species

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Taxonomic notes

Barbus (Pseudobarbus) burchelli was described by Smith (1841), but the origin of the specimens that were used for this description is unknown, and no type material exists (Barnard 1943). When Skelton (1988) defined a monophyletic redfin genus, he raised Pseudobarbus to full genetic status and assigned a specimen from the Tradou sub-catchment as the neotype for P. burchelli. For two decades following Skelton’s (1988) revision, redfins from the Breede and three adjacent river systems (Heuningnes, Duiwenhoks and Goukou) were all considered to belong to Pseudobarbus burchelli (Skelton 2001). Subsequently, DNA-based studies by Swartz et al. (2009, 2014) and Chakona et al. (2013) revealed the existence of four genetically distinct lineages within P. burchelli (referred to as Pseudobarbus sp. ‘burchelli Giant’, Pseudobarbus sp. ‘burchelli Tradou’, Pseudobarbus sp. ‘burchelli Breede’, and Pseudobarbus sp. ‘burchelli Heuningnes’). The Giant Redfin was described as a distinct species, Pseudobarbus skeltoni (Chakona and Swartz 2013). There are ongoing investigations to determine the taxonomic integrity of the other three lineages of P. burchelli. If these lineages are found to constitute novel species, the name P. burchelli will become restricted to the Tradou lineage (due to designation of the neotype from this river), the Heuningnes lineage will require a new name, and one of the three synonyms of P. burchelli may need to be revalidated for the widespread Breede lineage. This assessment is based only on the Heuningnes lineage (Pseudobarbus sp nov ‘Heuningnes’). The other lineages within the P. burchelli sensu lato complex (i.e the Tradou lineage Pseudobarbus burchelli s.s. and the Breede lineage Pseudobarbus sp. ‘burchelli Breede’) are excluded from this assessment.


Freshwater (=Inland waters)

This taxon occurs in vegetated pools with peat stained water with high levels of dissolved salts (high conductivity). The bottom substratum is predominantly sand, silt and mud. This is in contrast with the majority of the streams in the Cape Fold Ecoregion that have rocky substratum, steeper gradients, clear water with low conductivity and moderate to fast flowing water throughout the year. Pseudobarbus sp. nov. ‘heuningnes’ occurs with other native fishes in the genera Galaxias and Sandelia (Chakona et al. 2013). There is need for further research to study the biology, ecology and population dynamics of this taxon.

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