Di Caporiacco 1926
During the spring of 1924 the Florentine professors G. Stefanini and N. Puccioni made several investigations in the northern part of Italian Somaliland. When they visited the village of Taleh they collected cyprinids living in the wells. They delivered these to Di Caporiacco who described them as a new genus and species. The specific name is after Cesare Maria De-Vecchi who was Govenor of Italian Somaliland at the time. The species was rediscovered a number of times and recieved two other names (Eilichthys microphthalmus and Barbopsis stefaninii) which are now synonyms (see above). The latter name was later transferred to another genus which has not since been recognised. (Historical notes from Berti and Messana 2010)
Eilichthys microphthalmus Pellegrin 1929
Barbopsis stefaninii Gianferrari 1930
Zaccarinia stefaninii Gianferrari 1934 nomen nudum
Lectotype: MZUF 5496. Paralectotypes: MZUF 2609-17 and 5566-70 (14 specimens), MSNG 24.903, MSNM 8 (ex MSNM 4388). This species is the type species by original designation and monotypy of the cave restricted genus Barbopsis.
Distributed over a large area (the Wadi Nogal) in northern Somalia, details given in Table below (from Ercolini, Berti, Chelazzi, and Messana 1982) (c. 8oN, 48oE). These authors collected 94 animals from the well at Taleh despite the fact that none had been seen at this site since 1924 when the type specimens were collected. No specimens were obtained from Eil. There is a 395m difference in the altitudes of the lowest and highest sites. Messana, Chelazzi and Baccetti (1985) record that while most of the karstic system of Somalia is composed of small cavities there are exceptions and some large cavities exist (e.g. Manas and Taleh).
Known collection sites for Barbopsis devecchii. * = type locality.
Very little known. The majority of the distribution area is in evaporite formations although at Eil there is marl and biogenic limestones (Merla, Abbate, Canuti, Sagri and Tacconi 1973). It is likely, though unproven, that the fishes inhabit an extensive series of relatively small fissures and tunnels. The species is capable of tolerating wide variations in salinity and hardness. Various aquatic troglobites (e.g. Caridina lanzana (Crustacea, Decapoda) (Holthuis 1980)) have been taken from the wells and probably form part of the diet of the fish. Matthes (1963) examined the feeding mechanism and diet of this species. He reported that the only specimen he had available had mostly fresh herbaceous material in its gut, as well as some filamentous algae, sand grains and small invertebrates. The animal appears to have a generally phytophagous diet (based on many aspects of its feeding morphology) which is perhaps surprising given its cavernicolous facies. It seems possible that it obtains much of its food supply from openings to the epigean zone while spending other times in hypogean regions. Andreoli (1981) provided details of the flora present in the waters inhabited by Barbopsis. These may provide a basis for the ecosystem.
The relationships of this species are not well understood. Banister (1984:934) suggested that it has no close relatives among epigean cyprinids of north-eastern Africa. Howes (1991) placed this species (together with Caecobarbus geertsii and Garra andruzzii) in the barbin lineage of the subfamily Cyprininae. Matthes (1963) studied the feeding mechanisms of several African cyprinids. His findings suggest that Barbopsis is derived from a primitive Barbus type. The teeth are unspecialised being of a very generalised type.
A detailed electrophoretic study allowed Sbordoni, DeMatthaeis, Mattoccia, Berti and Sbordoni (1996) to calculate Nei’s genetic distance (D) between this species and the other Somali hypogean cyprinid Garra andruzzii. Their value of D=0.7 falls within the range for species (0.004-3.000).
During this study samples from three of the six known sites for this species were examined and the electrophoretic data strongly suggest that gene flow between sites is restricted or absent. This has lead to pronounced genetic subdivisions between populations and significant heterozygosity.
All of the distinctive morphological features of this species are due to evolution underground (troglomorphy) and cannot be used to assess its relationships. It seems likely that the different degrees of troglomorphy exhibited by the Somali cyprinids is the result of different lengths of time isolated in caves.
Hayes and Armbruster (2017) studied the taxonomy and relationships of the Africa small barbs, a group to which B. devecchii belongs (with Caecobarbus geertsii) but an a complete absence of tissue samples for these two subterranean species meant that they were excluded from the analysis. In a thorough phylogenetic classification of the Cypriniformes Tan and Armbruster (2018) placed Barbopsis as incertae sedis within Cyprinidae as they were unable to determine the subfamily into which to place it.
(Getahun, A. 2010. Barbopsis devecchii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-3.RLTS.T182217A7833713.en. Downloaded on 03 July 2017). VU D2 (IUCN, 1996, 2000).
However, in large areas of Somalia pumps are now being used to remove water from wells. If this is carried out over a long period without replenishment of ground water by rain the water table will inevitably fall. This could pose a serious threat to this species and the other two cave-dwelling species in this country, Garra andruzzii and Uegitglanis zammaranoi.
This species is found in Ecoregion 83 (Horn) of Thieme et al. (2005). This is a xeric area which is nationally important faunistically, with a conservation status of relatively stable and a priority class of 5 (Brown and Thieme 2005).
As above plus: five hundred and three specimens at the Instituto di Zoologia dell' Universita di Firenze, Centro di Studio per la Faunistica ed Ecologia Tropicali del Consiglio Nazionali delle Ricerche, Firenze (Ercolini, Berti, Chelazzi and Messana 198:231).
- Gianferrari, L. (1930)
- Pellegrin, J. (1931)
- Gianferrari, L. (1937)
- Parenzan, P. (1939)
- Poll, M. (1961)
- Matthes, H. (1963)
- Della Croce, N. (1963)
- Bianchi, S. (1975)
- Ercolini, A. and Berti, R. (1978)
- Bianchi, S. (1978)
- Bianchi, S. (1978)
- Bianchi, S., Delfino, G. and Ercolini, A. (1978)
- Messana, G. (1979)
- Andreoli, C. (1981)
- Delfino, G., Bianchi, S. and Ercolini, A. (1981)
- Jankowska, M. and Thines, G. (1982)
- Ercolini, A., Berti, R., Chelazzi, L. and Messana, G. (1982)
- Leveque, C. and Daget, J. (1984)
- Messana, G., Chelazzi, L. and Baccetti, N. (1985)
- Messana, G. and Chelazzi, L. (1986)
- Ercolini, A., Berti, R., Chelazzi, L. and Messana, G. (1987)
- Sbordoni, M. C., Dematthaeis, E., Mattoccia, M., Berti, R. and Sbordoni, V. (1996)
- Messana, G. (2001)
- Brown, A. and Thieme, M. (2005)
- Thieme, M.L., Abell, R., Stiassny, M.L.J.,Skelton, P., Lehner, B., Teugels, G., Dinerstein, E., Kamdem-Toham, A., Burgess, B., and Olson, D. (2005)
- Paglianti, A, Messana, G, Cianfanelli, A and Berti, R (2006)
- Berti, R. and Messana, G. (2010)
- Laumanns, M. (2017)
|Gianferrari, L.||Journal Article||1930||Un nuovo ciprinide Somalo (Barbopsis stefaninii Gianf.)|
|Pellegrin, J.||Journal Article||1931||Les Cyprinides cavernicoles d'Afrique|
|Gianferrari, L.||Journal Article||1937||Nuove osservazioni sui Cyprinidi di Callis (Somalia italiana)|
|Parenzan, P.||Journal Article||1939||Pesci del acque sotterranee della Somalia|
|Poll, M.||Journal Article||1961||Contribution a l'etude des poissons d'eau douce de Somalie appartenant aux genres Gobius et Barbopsis|
|Matthes, H.||Journal Article||1963||A comparative study of the feeding mechanisms of some African Cyprinidae (Pisces, Cypriniformes)|
|Della Croce, N.||Journal Article||1963||Ill spedizione del Prof. G. Scortecci in Somalia. Osservazioni su Barbopsis devecchii Di Caporiacco (Cyprinidae)|
|Bianchi, S.||Journal Article||1975||Preliminary observations on the epidermis of Uegitglanis zammaranoi Gianferrari (Clariidae, Siluriformes)|
|Ercolini, A. and Berti, R.||Journal Article||1978||Morphology and response to light of Barbopsis devecchii Di Caporiacco (Cyprinidae) microphthalmic phreatic fish from Somalia|
|Bianchi, S.||Journal Article||1978||Indagine preliminare sulla topografia delle cellule neurosecerenti a secreto fuscinoparaldeide positivo nel S.N.C. di Uegitglanis zammaranoi Gianferrari, pesce freatico anoftalmo della Somalia|
|Bianchi, S.||Journal Article||1978||La cellule mucose e l'istochimica dei mucopolisaccaridi nell' epitelio olfatttivo di Uegitglanis zammaranoi Gianferrari (Clariidae, Siluriformes), pesce freatico anogtalmo delle Somalia|
|Bianchi, S., Delfino, G. and Ercolini, A.||Journal Article||1978||Morphology and fine structure of the olfactory organ in Uegitglanis zammaranoi Gianferrari (Clariidae, Siluriformes),anophthalmic phreatic fish from Somalia|
|Messana, G.||Journal Article||1979||Groundwater research by the "Centro di studio par la faunistica ed ecologia tropicali" in Somalia|
|Andreoli, C.||Journal Article||1981||La flora algale presente in due particolari pozzi della Somalia meridionale|
|Delfino, G., Bianchi, S. and Ercolini, A.||Journal Article||1981||On the olfactory epithelium in cyprinids: A comparison between hypogean and epigean species|
|Jankowska, M. and Thines, G.||Journal Article||1982||Etude comparative de la densite de groupes de poissons cavernicoles et epigee (Characidae, Cyprinidae, Clariidae)|
|Ercolini, A., Berti, R., Chelazzi, L. and Messana, G.||Journal Article||1982||Researches on the phreatobitic fishes of Somalia: Acheivements and prospects|
|Leveque, C. and Daget, J.||Book Section||1984||Barbopsis devecchii Di Caporiacco, 1926|
|Messana, G., Chelazzi, L. and Baccetti, N.||Journal Article||1985||Biospeleology of Somalia: Mugdile and Showli Berdi caves|
|Messana, G. and Chelazzi, L.||Journal Article||1986||The fauna of the subterranean waters of East Africa, and particularly of Somalia|
|Ercolini, A., Berti, R., Chelazzi, L. and Messana, G.||Journal Article||1987||Oxygen consumption in hypogean and epigean cyprinids (Pisces)|
|Sbordoni, M. C., Dematthaeis, E., Mattoccia, M., Berti, R. and Sbordoni, V.||Journal Article||1996||Genetic variability and differentiation of hypogean cyprinid fishes from Somalia|
|Messana, G.||Book Section||2001||Somalia|
|Brown, A. and Thieme, M.||Book Section||2005||Ecoregion 83. Horn|
|Thieme, M.L., Abell, R., Stiassny, M.L.J.,Skelton, P., Lehner, B., Teugels, G., Dinerstein, E., Kamdem-Toham, A., Burgess, B., and Olson, D.||Book||2005||Freshwater ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar. A conservation assessment|
|Paglianti, A, Messana, G, Cianfanelli, A and Berti, R||Journal Article||2006||Is the perception of their own odour effective in orienting the exploratory activity of cave fishes?|
|Berti, R. and Messana, G.||Book Section||2010||Subterranean fishes of Africa|
|Laumanns, M.||Journal Article||2017||Atlas of the Great caves and the karst of Africa. Volume 2. Malawi to Zimbabwe and general references|