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Contribution to the systematic revision of the spiny-eels of West- and West-Central Africa (Synbranchiformes, Mastacembelidae)
Vreven, E.; Teugels, G.G.; Thys van den Audenaerde, D. (1993). Contribution to the systematic revision of the spiny-eels of West- and West-Central Africa (Synbranchiformes, Mastacembelidae). Belg. J. Zool. 123(Suppl. 1): 88
In: Belgian Journal of Zoology. Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Dierkunde = Société royale zoologique de Belgique: Gent. ISSN 0777-6276, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Proceedings 21/3 [57702]
Document types: Conference paper; Summary

    Aethiomastacembelus; Aethiomastacembelus liberiensis; Caecomastacembelus; Caecomastacembelus brichardi; Mastacembelus marchei; Mastacembilidae [WoRMS]; Synbranchiformes [WoRMS]; West Africa [Marine Regions]; Brackish water; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Vreven, E.
  • Teugels, G.G., more
  • Thys van den Audenaerde, D.

    The Mastacembelidae or spiny-eels belong to the Synbranchiformes. The family is divided into two subfamilies: the Mastacembelinae occurring in South-East Asia and the Afromastacembelinae known from Africa. The study only deals with the African subfamily. The Afromastacembelinae are divided into two genera: the genus Caecomastacembelus (type species C. brichardi) and the genus Aethiomastacembelus (type species Mastacembelus marchei). The aim of this study was to adjust the generic definitions and to improve the existing keys for the genera and especially the species. Whilst performing this research, however, the definition of the genera showed to be inaccurate. Moreover C. brichardi does not present three important osteological characteristics considered as generic. Our research revealed important evidence indicating that the type species of both genera should be classified in the same genus. According to the rules of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, this implicates that both genera should be synonymised. For the time being, however, we have not introduced these important changes, as we did not have a total view of the diversity of all the species in the family. Moreover we were not able to study the osteology of the head, which might have provided useful informations on the relationships between the different species. The most important result from the species revision is the discovery of two new species in the "Aeethiomastacembelus" liberiensis complex from West Africa. Our study is the first contribution to the improvement of the systematics of the spiny- eels. Further research, both on the generic and the species level is absolutely necessary.

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