Laeviscutella dekimpei Poll, Whitehead & Hopson, 1965
Roundbelly pellonuline
Laeviscutella dekimpei
photo by FAO

Family:  Clupeidae (Herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens), subfamily: Dorosomatinae
Max. size:  4.55 cm SL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  pelagic; freshwater; brackish,
Distribution:  Africa: lower parts of rivers and lagoons in West Africa (Ref. 188), from the Casamance River to the Niger delta (Ref. 2849, 28136, 81269), lower Ogowe River in Gabon (Ref. 81631) and Loémé River in Republic of Congo (Ref. 81631). Also reported to occur in the Congo River (Ref. 188, 28136), but this needs confirmation.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14-16; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 17-20; Vertebrae: 39-42. Diagnosis: Laeviscutella dekimpei is distinguished by its congeners by the following characters: belly rounded, prepelvic scutes 7 or 8, with lateral arms but without keels and hidden by scales; postpelvic scutes without arms, but supporting a low membranous keel; lower gillrakers 21 to 26 (Ref. 188, 81269, 81631). In all other West African pellonulines with scutes, the postpelvic scutes have lateral arms, except Sierrathrissa, in which the prepelvic scutes also lack arms and the pelvic fin insertion is well before the dorsal fin origin (Ref. 188, 81631). Description: Small and fairly slender body, moderately compressed, its depth 22-25% of standard length (Ref. 188, 42928). Jaws subequal, lower jaw projecting slightly (Ref. 42928). Teeth present on dentary, premaxilla, maxilla, vomer and tongue; pre-maxilla with a single series of small pointed teeth; maxilla with lower border indented anteriorly, expanded portion with fine teeth along lower edge; a single, posterior, supra-maxilla with slender anterior shaft and diamond-shaped expanded portion; maxilla reaching to about anterior border of eye; a series of 5-6 small pointed teeth in lower jaw on either side of the dentary symphysis; a single series of fine teeth on the tongue (Ref. 2849, 42928, 81269, 81631). Adipose eyelids present but barely developed (Ref. 42928). Gill rakers fine and slender; first gill arch with 21-26 gillrakers on lower limb (Ref. 42928, 81269, 81631). Dorsal fin inserted approximately above pelvic-fin origins; dorsal fin with 3-4 unbranched and 11-13 branched rays; anal fin with 3 unbranched and 14-17 branched rays; pectoral fin with 1 unbranched and 11-12 branched rays; pelvic fin with 1 unbranched and 7 branched rays, its insertion below about dorsal fin origin (Ref. 188, 2849, 42928, 81269, 81631). Scales in longitudinal series about 38 (Ref. 93833). Belly rounded with non-keeled prepelvic scutes provided with ascending arms and keeled postpelvic scutes lacking ascending arms; 7-8 prepelvic and 5-6 postpelvic mid-ventral scutes (Ref. 42928, 81269, 81631). Number of vertebrae in juveniles, not reached their metamorphosis: 39-42 (Ref. 1989). Colouration: Alcohol-preserved specimens are generally pale yellow to yellowish-grey (Ref. 2849, 81269, 81631); with pale trace of midlateral stripe from gill opening to caudal base, slightly wider and more distinct along the posterior half of body; dorsally, a median double series of small melanophores, becoming larger and more dense on either side of the dorsal fin and post-dorsally; a series of small melanophores extending midlaterally from under the second half of the dorsal fin to the caudal base, becoming denser and larger posteriorly; a melanophore at the base of each anal ray; bases of outer caudal rays dotted with melanophores, and a dark posterior outline to the caudal peduncle; melanophores dotted on the pre-maxilla, the shaft of the maxilla and on the dentary; fins colourless (Ref. 42928).
Biology:  A riverine species, chiefly near the coast and entering lagoons, where salinities vary with the tides; it is presumably euryhaline, although it may escape high salinities (Ref. 188). Ripe females of 3.5 to 4.0 cm standard length were recorded in Ebrié Lagoon (Ref. 188, 1989).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 19 October 2019 Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

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