Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 2, pp 201–211 | Cite as

Changes in morphology and growth of the mudskipper (Periophthalmus argentilineatus) associated with coastal pollution

  • G. KruitwagenEmail author
  • T. Hecht
  • H. B. Pratap
  • S. E. Wendelaar Bonga
Research Article


In this paper a comparison is made between the growth and morphology of barred mudskippers (Periophthalmus argentilineatus) from six mangrove forests along the coast of Tanzania. The fish populations from unpolluted sites consisted of different size classes, whereas only small sized fish were present in the polluted Mtoni mangroves. Age estimation based on the examination of otoliths revealed that the mudskippers followed similar growth patterns in all sites with limited pollution. However, the age estimates from the polluted Mtoni site revealed an abnormal growth pattern. The occurrence of unilateral anophthalmia in the Mtoni mudskippers suggested that these fish were affected by pollutants during early development. The study showed that the presence of urban and industrial wastes from Dar es Salaam city, as indicated by isotopic enrichment, correlated with abnormal growth and developmental effects in mudskippers. We hypothesize that pollution might also affect fish species that use the mangroves as a temporary habitat.


PCBs Mangrove Forest Growth Zone Stable Nitrogen Opaque Zone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge Richard Massinde from the Department of Zoology and Marine Biology, University of Dar es Salaam, for assistance during collection of samples in the field, and Ernst Thompson from the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Sciences, Rhodes University, for technical assistance in the processing of otoliths. This is Centre for Wetland Ecology publication number 412.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Kruitwagen
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. Hecht
    • 2
  • H. B. Pratap
    • 3
  • S. E. Wendelaar Bonga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal Ecology and EcophysiologyRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries SciencesRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Zoology and Marine BiologyUniversity of Dar es SalaamDares SalaamTanzania

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