FYNBOS FISH SPECIES
Red List status: Endangered
The distribution of the Verlorenvlei redfin is fragmented – and it’s believed there is only one viable population that remains today. Many pools where the redfin occurs dry up during the hot summer months. Invasive non-native fish are also a major threat.
Where you’ll find them
This species is endemic to the Verlorenvlei River System on the West Coast of the Western Cape, including remnant subpopulations in the Krom Antonies and Kruismans Rivers.
This Verlorenvlei River System flows during the rainy winter months, but can dry to leave only a series of isolated pools during summer. It is also highly turbid during the rainy season. The substratum is mostly sand, silt and mud.
There are only three known subpopulations of this species remaining, but this wasn’t always the case: It’s believed the Verlorenvlei redfin was widespread in the Verlorenvlei and Langvlei River Systems in the past. The Black Bass species (Micropterus spp), as well as the Banded Tilapia (Tipalia sparrmanii), Mozambique Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) and Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) are the most prominent invasive fish threats. Habitat degradation and water extraction are also concerning contributors to their population decline.
Local initiatives are in place to help protect this Endangered species. For example, the establishment of the Krom Antonies Protected Environment will play a role in conserving this redfin and other Fynbos Fish that occur here. It’s important that maintaining the ecological functioning of the river forms part of the management plan, as well as a complete ban on the introduction of non-native fish species.
Sources: SANBI Red List of South African Species; Swimming on the Edge of Extinction (Garrow & Marr)