Fishy friends

Last week saw the completion of the stream monitoring in Mountainlands. This was timed to follow on the very successful Bioblitz activities of the previous weeks.

Andre Hoffman and Hannes Marais of the MTPA (Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency) sampled all the major stream systems in the reserve. This included Hysslops Creek, Figtree Creek, Honeybird Creek, Lows Creek and the Oratava Creek. They used the South African National River Health Programme’s SASS 5 biomonitoring protocol to gain an overview of the river health in the reserve. Overall scores were very high, indicating taxonomic complexity and a large variety of aquatic invertebrate groups.

Eight fish species were also found in the streams, further indicating the health of the system.   The fish species found were: Threespot barb(Barbus trimaculatus);  Orangefin barb (Barbus eutaenia);  Largescale yellowfish (Barbus merequensis);  Incomati chiselmouht  (Varicorhinus nelspruitensis); Sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus);  Longfin eel (Anguilla mossambica); Shortspine suckermouth (Chiloglanis pretoriae) and common mountain catfish (Amphilius uranoscopus).

It is hoped that more in-depth aquatic studies will be conducted in the near future which will contribute further to the store of knowledge being gathered about this very special area.

Next time you cross one of our crystal clear mountain streams, stop and take a closer look. You are bound to be surprised.

Francios Du Toit (Reserve Manager) and Andre Hoffman with Longfin eel (Anguilla mossambica).

Hannes Marais conducting a SASS 5 river health assesment on the Hysslops Creek.

Barbus eutaenia top and Varicorhinus nelspruitensis at bottom (Or was it a juvenile Barbus merequensis?).

Chiloglanis pretoriae in the centre with two Amphilius uranoscopuson either side.

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