CZ EN
SEARCH  

Taxon profile

subspecies

Emirati Blind Cave Fish
Garra barreimiae wurayahi Khalaf, 2009

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Chordata - chordates »  class Actinopterygii - ray-finned fishes »  order Cypriniformes »  family Cyprinidae - minnows and carps »  genus Garra - garras »  species Garra barreimiae

Other names

= Wadi Al Wurayah Blind Cave Fish

Taxon in country check-lists

Taxonomy

The new subspecies was named "Garra barreimiae wurayahi Khalaf, 2009" in June 2009 by the Palestinian-German zoologist Dr. Norman Ali Khalaf-von Jaffa. The subspecies name "wurayahi" is Latin for Wadi Al Wurayah.

Size

The Emirati Blind Cave Fish have a small size. Young specimens are 1-4 centimeters, and adults are 4.5–7 centimeters.

Description

There are four Garra barreimiae subspecies living in the Arabian Peninsula: The two Omani Blind Cave Fish subspecies Garra barreimiae barreimiae Fowler & Steinitz, 1956, from Al Buraimi Oasis; and Garra barreimiae gallagheri Krupp, 1988, from Seeq and Wadi Bani Khalid north of Muqal; and the two Emirati Blind Cave Fish subspecies Garra barreimiae shawkahensis Banister and Clarke, 1977, from Wadi Shawkah, Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah; and the newly discovered Garra barreimiae wurayahi Khalaf, 2009, from Wadi Al Wurayah, Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

Garra barreimiae, named after the Al Buraimi Oasis, Oman, is by far the most common native freshwater fish species found in the United Arab Emirates. In many wadis Garra barreimiae is the only fish present. The Wadi Al Wurayah subspecies Garra barreimiae wurayahi Khalaf, 2009, lives in the pools of Wadi Al Wurayah, Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. They are mottled brown in colour, typically dark but varying somewhat with the surroundings. Larger adults sometimes show more colourful red, white or blue markings, probably related to breeding status.

Ecology

Garra barreimiae wurayahi has a behavioural tendency to explore upstream, which probably facilitates dispersal when the wadis flow. Smaller adults have been observed to climb several meters up waterfalls, using the wet surface of the splash zone adjacent to the main flow of water, sometimes wriggling, sometimes jetting forward, resting periodically with pectoral fins spread, the mouth plate engaged for suction, and the tail twisted and pressed flat against the rock.

They feed on detritus and algae and have a specialized mouth plate that functions as a suction device. They resemble aquarium catfish as they nuzzle their way over gravel and rock surfaces, but they dart about frantically when approached in shallow pools where they are vulnerable to terrestrial and avian predators.

Little is known about the life history of Garra barreimiae in the wild. Several anecdotal reports exist of the release of eggs and sperm during transport of specimens, provoking speculation that spawning may be triggered by turbulence, mimicking that of a wadi in spate. G. barreimiae will cannibalize its own eggs if conditions permit. Experiments have shown that G. barreimiae can tolerate water temperatures up to ca. 40ºC (104ºF) and salinity up to one-third that of sea water, but they usually live in water temperature between 18°C - 24°C, and pH range: 6.5 - 7.5; and dH range: 10 – 20.

Distribution

Garra barreimiae is endemic to Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and northern Oman. Separate subspecies have been recognized on the east and west flanks of the Hajar Mountains, respectively. The subspecies Garra barreimiae wurayahi is endemic to Wadi Al Wurayah, Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The genus Garra is known from East Africa to South Asia and several other Garra species are endemic to the mountains of south-western Arabia, but the closest relatives of Garra barreimiae is thought to be the newly discovered Omani Garra smarti, and the Irani Garra persica, which is widespread in southern Iran.

Importance

The Emirati Blind Cave Fish and the Locals:
Garra barreimiae wurayahi is caught and eaten by human residents of the Hajar Mountains, even today. The normal technique employs a V-shaped stone dam to channel the fish onto a portable sieve-like platform made from palm ribs, wire mesh or nylon netting. This can be very effective, eliminating all but the very smallest fish in the area, but only G. barreimiae is taken for food, even when other species are present.

Sources

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr.Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). Garra barreimiae wurayahi Khalaf, 2009 : A New Blind Cave Fish Subspecies from Wadi Al Wurayah Pools, Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. Number 90, June 2009, Jumada Al-Akhera 1430 AH. pp. 1-15. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

http://emirati-blind-cave-fish.webs.com/

Links and literature

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr.Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). Garra barreimiae wurayahi Khalaf, 2009 : A New Blind Cave Fish Subspecies from Wadi Al Wurayah Pools, Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. Number 90, June 2009, Jumada Al-Akhera 1430 AH. pp. 1-15. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://emirati-blind-cave-fish.webs.com/

Contributions to BioLib

Help us to expand this encyclopedia! If you are logged in, you can add new subtaxa, vernacular and scientific names, texts, images or intertaxon relationships for this taxon.

Comments