Labeo mesops Günther, 1868
Tana labeo
Labeo mesops
photo by FAO

Family:  Cyprinidae (Minnows or carps), subfamily: Labeoninae
Max. size:  39 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  benthopelagic; freshwater, potamodromous
Distribution:  Africa: present in Lake Malawi basin (Ref. 52161, 55909, 96560), Juba system (1440) and Ruvuma River (Ref. 1440, 97286). Status Tana River population is uncertain (Ref. 52331). Reports from the Lufira River, Upper Congo River basin (Ref. 1440, 26190), are misidentifications of Labeo rosae (Ref. 96560).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal soft rays (total): 11-11; Vertebrae: 34-34. Snout rounded and not fleshy or warty.
Biology:  Found in shallow water over sandy bottoms (Ref. 5595, 52161). Is a mud-feeder (Ref. 52161), feeds from the biocover and sediment on the sand (Ref. 5595). Also caught using weirs and baskets; formerly very abundant in Malawi, but now rare except where rivers drain undisturbed soil; possible that silt prevents development of eggs (Ref. 4967). Indications that it may leave the lake and run up rivers to spawn (Ref. 52161).
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered (CR); Date assessed: 23 May 2018 (A2ac+3cd) Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  harmless

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