Reproductive biology of Garra regressus and Garra tana (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) from Lake Tana, Ethiopia

Main Article Content

Akewake Geremew
Abebe Getahun
Eshete Dejen


The reproductive biology of Garra regressus and Garra tana was investigated by collecting monthly samples (January to December 2006) from the southern Gulf of Lake Tana, where these species are endemic.  Garra regressus has an extended breeding time from April to October while G. tana breeds throughout the year with a peak from March to July.  The mean size at maturity in both the species was not significantly different between the sexes, but G. tana had a significantly lower mean size at maturity than G. regressus in female specimens.  Absolute fecundity estimates for G. regressus ranged from 580.8–1800, while those for G. tana ranged from 538.9–2968.  Egg size frequency distribution revealed that G. regressus is a multiple spawner, while G. tana is a single spawner.  The sex ratio in the total catch of G. regressus was found to be skewed in favour of females (Chi-square, P< 0.05), while those for G. tana was not significantly different from 1:1. The mean size at maturity was not significantly different between the sexes for G. tana.


Article Details

Author Biographies

Akewake Geremew, Department of Biology, Dilla University, P.O. Box 419, Dilla, Ethiopia

Akewake Geremew is a lecturer in the department of Biology, Dilla University, Ethiopia. He served as an executive secretary of the Ethiopian Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Association. His areas of specialization include fish biology and aquaculture. He has studied the taxonomy and biology of Lake Tana Garra. He is also currently working on tilapia nutrition. 


Abebe Getahun, Department of Zoological Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Abebe Getahun is an Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Zoological Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He is teaching undergraduate and post graduate courses; advising PhD, MSc. and undergraduate students and also involved in research projects. His research focus is on diversity, conservation and aquaculture of fishes. He has authored or co-authored over 30 articles in scientific journals and books. 


Eshete Dejen, Agriculture and Environment Division (AED), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Djibouti

Eshete Dejen has been working for the past 15 years in fish biology, ecology and management of Lake Tana and its sub-basin. He served as Center Manager and Director for Livestock and Fisheries Department of ARARI, as Fisheries Officer at the FAO-Subregional Office for eastern Africa. He received National Green Award Programme-2009 from Individual Category for his contribution on Lake Tana’s Environmental Protection. Currently, he is working as Fisheries Technical Officer in IGAD.



Abedi, M., A.H. Shiva, H. Mohammadi & R. Malekpour (2011). Reproductive biology and age determination of Garra rufa Heckel, 1843 (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae) in central Iran. Turkish Journal of Zoology 35(3): 317–323;

Admassu, D. (1994). Maturity, fecundity, brood size and sex ratio of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus L.) in Lake Awassa. SINET:Ethiopian Journal of Science 17(1): 53–69.

Bagenal, T.B. (1978). Aspects of fish fecundity, pp. 75–101. In: Gerking, S.D. (ed). Ecology of Freshwater Fish Production. Blackwell, London.

Bagenal, T.B. & E. Braum (1978). Eggs and early life history, pp. 202–218. In: Bagenal, T.B. (ed). Methods for Assessment of Fish Productionin Fresh Waters. Blackwell, London.

Bardakci, F., U. Ozanso & E. Koptagel (2000). A comparison of oogenesis under constant and fluctuating temperatures in Doctor Fish, Garra rufa Heckel, 1843 (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). The World Wide Web Journal of Biology

<> On-line version dated 12 February 2015.

Braum, E. (1978). Ecological aspects of the survival of fish eggs, embryos and larvae, pp. 102–131. In: Gerking, S.D. (ed). Ecology of Freshwater Fish Production. Blackwell, London.

Dadebo, E., G. Ahlgen & I. Ahlgren (2003).Aspects of reproductive biology of Labeo horie Heckel (Pisces: Cyprinidae) in Lake Chamo, Ethiopia. African Journal of Ecology 41: 31–38;

Darwall, W.R.T., K.G. Smith, D.J. Allen, R.A. Holland, I.J. Harrison & E.G.E. Brooks (eds.). (2011). The Diversity of Life in African Freshwaters: Under Water, Under Threat. An Analysis of The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Species Throughout Mainland Africa. Cambridge, United Kingdom and Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. xiii+347pp+4pp cover.

de Graaf, M. (2003). Lake Tana’s Piscivorous barbs (Cyprinidae, Ethiopia): ecology, evolution, and exploitation. PhD Thesis. Experimental Zoology Group, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands, 249pp.

de Graaf, M., E. Dejen, F.A. Sibbing & J.W.M. Osse (2000). The piscivorous barbs of Lake Tana (Ethiopia): Major questions on their evolution and exploitation. Netherlands Journal of Zoology 50: 215–223;

de Silva, K.H.G.M. (1991). Population dynamics and production of the Rocky Stream-dwelling Fish Garra ceylonensis (Cyprinidae) in Sri Lanka. Journal of Tropical Ecology 7(3): 289–303;

Dejen, E. (2003). Ecology and potential for fishery of the small barbs (Cyprinidae: Teleostei) of Lake Tana, Ethiopia. PhD Thesis. Experimental Zoology Group, Agricultural University of Wageningen, The Netherlands, x+180pp.

Dejen, E., J. Vijverberg, L.A.J. Nagelkerke & F.A. Sibbing (2009). Growth, biomass, and production of two small barbs (Barbus humilis and B. tanapelagius, Cyprinidae) and their role in the food web of Lake Tana (Ethiopia). Hydrobiologia 636: 89–100;

Dejen, E., J. Vijverberg, L.A.J. Nagelkerke & F.A. Sibbing (2004). Temporal and Spatial distribution of microcrustacean zooplankton in relation to turbidity and other environmental factors in a large tropical lake (L. Tana, Ethiopia). Hydrobiologia 513: 39–49;

Esmaeili, H.R., M. Yazdonpanah & M. Mnsefi (2005). Reproductive biology of Doctor Fish, Garra rufa (Cyprinidae: Garrinae) in South west of Iran. The Fisheries Society of The British Isles Annual Symposium, University of Wales, Bangor, UK.

Fryer, G. & T.D. Illes (1972).The Cichlid Fishes of the Great Lakes of Africa: Their Biology and Evolution. Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh, 641pp.

Geremew, A. (2007). Taxonomic revision, relative abundance, and aspects of the biology of some species of the genus Garra

Hamilton, 1922 (Pisces: Cyprinidae) in Lake Tana, Ethiopia. MSc Thesis. Department of Biology, Addis Ababa University, vii+96pp.

Getahun, A. (2010a). Garra regressus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. Downloaded on 12 February 2015.

Getahun, A. (2010b). Garra tana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. Downloaded on 12 February 2015.

Gunderson, D.R., P. Callahan & B. Goiney (1980). Maturation and fecundity of four species of Sebastes. Marine Fisheries Review 42: 74–79.

IUCN (2009). Resolutions and Recommendations. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, vi+158pp.

Jha, B.R., H. Waidbacher, S. Sharma & M. Straif (2005). Study of the length frequency distribution of Sucker Head, Garra gotyla gotyla (Gray, 1830) in different rivers and seasons in Nepal and its applications. Kathmandu University Journal of science, engineering and Technology 1(1): 1–14.

Kolding, J. & A. Skålevik (2010). Pasgear II Version 2.4. University of Bregen. Bregen, Norway.

Kramer, D.L. (1978). Reproductive seasonality in the fishes of a tropical stream. Ecology 59: 976–985;

Lowe-McConnell, R.H. (1982). Tilapias in fish communities, pp. 43–83. In: Pullin, R.S.V. & R.H. Lowe-McConnell (eds.). The biology and culture of Tilapias. International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management Conference Proceedings 7. Manila, Philippines. 432pp.

Lowe-McConnell, R.H. (1987). Ecological Studies in Tropical Fish Communities. Cambridge University Press, London, 848pp.

Nagelkerke, L.A.J., F.A. Sibbing & J.W.M. Osse (1995). Morphological divergence during growth in the large barbs (Barbus spp.) of Lake Tana, Ethiopia. Netherlands Journal of Zoology 45: 431–454;

Nagelkerke, L.A.J., F.A. Sibbing, J.G.M. van den Boogart, E.H.R.R. Lammens & J.W.M. Osse (1994).The barbs (barbus spp.) of Lake Tana: a forgotten species flock? Environmental Biology of Fishes 35: 1–22;

Paugy, D. (2002). Reproductive strategies of fishes in a tropical temporary stream of the Upper Senegal basin: Baoulé River in Mali. Aquatic Living Resources 15: 25–35;

Rideout, R.M. & M.J. Morgan (2007). Major changes in fecundity and the effect on population egg production for three species of northwest Atlantic flatfishes. Journal of Fish Biology 70: 1759–1779;

Rinchard, J. & P. Kestemont (1996). Comparative study of reproductive biology in single- and multiple-spawner cyprinid fish: Morphological and histological features. Journal of Fish Biology 49: 883–894;

Sibbing, F. A., L.A.J. Nagelkerke, R.J.M. Stet & J.W.M. Osse (1998). Speciation of endemic Lake Tana Barbs (Cyprinidae, Ethiopia) driven by trophic resource partitioning; a molecular and ecomorphological approach. Aquatic Ecology 32: 217–227;

Stiassny, M.L.J. & A. Getahun (2007). An overview of labeonin relationships and the phylogenetic placement of the Afro-Asian genus Garra Hamilton, 1922 (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), with the description of five new species of Garra from Ethiopia, and a key to all African species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 150: 41–83;

Sundararaj, B.I. (1981). Reproductive Physiology of Teleost Fishes: A Review of Present Knowledge and Needs for Future Research. ADCP/ REP/ 81/ 16. FAO, Rome, Italy, 88pp.

Sundrabaranthy, T.V., V. Endrisinghe & C.M.B. Dematawewa (2005). Breeding and larval rearing of threatened, endemic fish stone sucker, Garra ceylonensis (Bleeker). Aquaculture Research 36: 196–201;

Tadesse, Z. (1997). Breeding season, Fecundity, Length-weight relationship and condition factor of Oreochromis niloticus L. (Pisces: Cichlidae) in LakeTana, Ethiopia. SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science 20(1): 31–47.

Thieme, M. & A. Brown (2013).Ecoregion 526: Lake Tana. In: Freshwater Ecoregions of the World. <>On-line version dated 15 February 2015.

Tsikliras, A.C. & E. Antonoupoulou (2006). Reproductive biology of round Sardinella (Sardinella aurita) in the north-rastern Mediterranean. Scientia Marina 70(2): 281–290;

Vijverberg, J., F.A. Sibbing & E. Dejen (2009). Lake Tana: Source of the Blue Nile, pp. 163–192. In: Dumont, J. (ed.). The Nile: Origin, Environments, Limnology and Human Use. Springer Science and Business Media B.V., 818pp.

Weyl, O.L.F. & A.J. Booth (1999). On the life history of a cyprinid fish, Labeo cylindericus. Environmental Biology of Fish 55: 215–225;

Wootton, R.J. (1992). Fish Ecology. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dardrecht, The Netherlands.

Wootton, R.J. (1998). Ecology of Teleost Fishes. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dardrecht, The Netherlands.