Synopsis: Croilia mossambica, a burrowing goby endemic to the coastal lakes of south east Africa occurs from L. Poelela (salinity 8%.) to L. Sibaya (freshwater). Since these lakes are isolated from one another its distribution is discontinuous. It is not found in estuaries or the sea. In L. Sibaya C. mossambica is present on sheltered sides from a depth of 1 m to about 16 m. On exposed shores it is not found at less than 3.5 m depth. It is restricted to sandy, quiet water areas and is unable to form burrows where the substrate is disturbed by water movement, is muddy or consists of sand with a particle diameter greater than 0.5 mm. The maximum depth at which it lives is probably determined by light penetration since it is dependent on sight for prey capture. The food consists of slow moving benthic invertebrates such as chironomid larvae, gastropods, bivalves and amphipods. The relative importance of each depends upon its abundance. C. mossambica is a summer breeder with a protracted spawning season. The sticky eggs measure 0.7–0.8 mm when laid. Tolerance experiments show that it is euryhaline and can survive in seawater of 35%. and that its upper temperature limit is between 32 and 35°C. Temperatures in shallow waters of lakes and estuaries of the region frequently exceed 35°C. Thus its local distribution may be limited by temperature. Its lack of tolerance to high temperatures, to marked water movements and its ability to live in seawater indicates that C. mossambica is suited to life in the sea rather than in estuaries. It is suggested that it was present in quiet areas of the sea, such as lagoons, and that it invaded the coastal lakes which were formed as the estuaries and river valleys were inundated during the Pleistocene marine transgression. C. mossambica cannot tolerate estuarine conditions and with the present absence of quiet water in the sea off the south east African coast the species is now confined to deep coastal lakes.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
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- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics