Spatial and seasonal distribution of the ichthyofauna of Lake Nokoué, Bénin, west Africa
AbstractThe fish biodiversity of Lake Nokoué, a lagoon in Bénin, was monitored for one year from August 2000 to July 2001 by means of samples from the artisanal fishery collected once a month at three stations. A total of 5 933 fish weighing 95 322g (mean individual weight 16.0g) belonging to 51 species, 47 genera and 34 families were sampled. An abundance of juveniles was observed, confirming the importance of the lake as nursery grounds, rich in exploitable habitats like other tropical estuaries and lagoons. The fish fauna comprised three main components: i) an estuarine component (strict, freshwater and marine origins) which is the basis of the lagoon fauna community and which is stable in space and time; ii) a marine component containing fishes which appeared in the lagoon during the dry season where the salinity remains high (>20‰) and iii) a freshwater component with fishes coming into the lagoon from the river during the flood period. The magnitude of the spatial and seasonal fluctuations of the last two components varies depending on the area: marine (Zogbo), freshwater (Vêki) or intermediate (Ganvié). The global species richness and the relative abundances of fish vary between stations and from month to month. November, with 20 species on average, and January, with 6 species on average, are significantly different as regards species richness.
Keywords: biodiversity; fish; lagoons; Bénin
(Afr J Aqua Sci: 2003 28(2): 151-161)