We critically compared Marcusenius specimens from the mouth of the Cunene River on the Namibia/Angola border, a harsh desert environment on the Atlantic Ocean coast virtually devoid of aerial insects with aquatic larvae which are an important food item, with Marcusenius multisquamatus Kramer & Wink, 2013 from the escarpment region of that same river, in a relatively rich and productive subtropical savannah environment. River mouth specimens were differentiated in morphology and electric organ discharges, as determined by ANOVA/MANOVA comparisons, principal component and discriminant analyses on morphological and electrophysiological characters, and genetics, including sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, indicating reproductive isolation. Specimens from the river mouth differed from M. multisquamatus, their closest relatives, by having a shorter snout, a smaller eye diameter, and smaller nares separation. River mouth specimens were also differentiated from other, increasingly less-close relatives, such as M. altisambesi Kramer et al., 2007 from the Okavango River, Botswana, and from M. krameri Maake et al., 2014 from the Limpopo System, South Africa. We therefore designate the new species Marcusenius desertus sp. nov. for the Cunene River mouth population.
Keywords: ecology, electric organ discharges, genetic differentiation, morphology, phylogeography, speciation
LB Kramer, FH van der Bank and M Wink. 2016. Marcusenius desertus sp. nov. (Teleostei: Mormyridae), A Mormyrid Fish from the Namib Desert. African Journal of Aquatic Science.