Genetic identification and diversity of stocks of the African bonytongue, Heterotis niloticus (Osteoglossiformes: Arapaiminae), in Nigeria, West Africa. Academic Article uri icon


  • Inland fisheries are an important source of protein and income for people in Africa. Their sustainable management can greatly benefit from identification of regional genetic stocks and characterization of their genetic diversity, but such information is lacking for most African freshwater fisheries. The African bonytongue, Heterotis niloticus, is an important component of inland fisheries in West Africa. Nigeria has the largest fishery for African bonytongues, representing~86% of the global total. Recent declines in yields at some Nigerian locations, however, suggest current levels of exploitation may be unsustainable. Habitat degradation also may be impacting some stocks. Despite its commercial and nutritional importance, the African bonytongue has been the subject of scant genetic research to support management. We examined patterns of genetic diversity in natural populations of H. niloticus at four locations in Nigeria, including Kainji Lake, a reservoir on the Niger River in north-central Nigeria, and three southern localities (Ethiope River, Igbokoda River, and Epe Lagoon), as well fish from the Oum River delta near Porto Novo, Benin. Eighty-five specimens were genotyped for nine microsatellite-loci. Genetic diversity estimates were highest at Kainji Lake, and substantially lower at southern localities. High levels of genetic differentiation were detected between samples from Kainji Lake and those from southern localities. Low, yet significant FST values were observed among samples from southern Nigerian localities that were more differentiated from the sample from nearby coastal Benin. We thus recommend that African bonytongues from the five locations be considered distinct genetic stocks and managed accordingly.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 1.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Oladimeji, T. E., Caballero, I. C., Mateos, M., Awodiran, M. O., Winemiller, K. O., Adite, A., & Hurtado, L. A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Oladimeji, Tofunmi E||Caballero, Isabel C||Mateos, Mariana||Awodiran, Michael O||Winemiller, Kirk O||Adite, Alphonse||Hurtado, Luis A

publication date

  • May 2022