Our colleague, Ricardo Lima, currently working on São Tomé has sent us another exciting photo; not of another São Tomé shrew this time, but of a large fish that we somehow missed during the island river surveys of GG I and GG II.

Led by Dr. Tomio Iwamoto, we surveyed all of the major rivers on both São Tomé and Príncipe in 2001 and 2006.  As a result, Drs. Iwamoto and Petzold published a paper on the freshwater gobies of the islands, and later Dr. Iwamoto was one of the authors of the updated Checklist of Coastal Fishes of São Tomé and Príncipe Islands. This checklist is based on a great deal of our expedition material.  Regardless, the fish that Ricardo has photographed was not included in either work and at the moment we have no idea to which species it belongs.

"Charroco"  R. Lima phot.  2009.

Quintino Quade  and Dr. Iwamoto on Sao Tome. D. Lin phot.  GG I 

It is a fairly large fish and well-known by the local Sao Tomeans as “charroco ”  Ricardo tells us, “I was told by an old man that lives in S. Jose (Binda), that he used to fish these upstream. But this photo is from the other [east] side of the island, near EMOLVE, the big oil palm plantation! I'm not sure where they got the animal, but I think it's widespread, and according to the people who fish them, it lives in holes under the rocks. The specimen I photographed is not very big for the species. According to them, it can get much bigger, but they eat even the small ones, deep fried!”

Tomio and Drewes on Principe.  D. Lin phot. GGI

Dr. Iwamoto has sent Ricardo’s photo to two other experts, Dr. Lynne Parenti of the US National Museum and Dr. David Greenfield of Monterey, California, and both agree that  this is probably a member of the Family Eleotridae, or “sleeper gobies”.  During our surveys, we caught other species of this family, one of which is pictured below; but at the moment, we seem to have another unidentified species from the Gulf of Guinea and will have to work to obtain more material and identify it.

A Sao Tome eleotrid fish. RCD phot. GG I

The Parting Shot:

A beach on north Principe. R. Wenk phot. GG III


We gratefully acknowledge the support of the G. Lindsay Field Research Fund, Hagey Research Venture Fund of the California Academy of Sciences, the Société de Conservation et Développement (SCD) for logistics, ground transportation and lodging, STePUP of Sao Tome http://www.stepup.st/, Arlindo de Ceita Carvalho, Director General, and Victor Bomfim, Salvador Sousa Pontes and Danilo Bardero of the Ministry of Environment, Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe for permission to export specimens for study, and the continued support of Bastien Loloumb of Monte Pico and Faustino Oliviera, Director of the botanical garden at Bom Sucesso. Special thanks for the generosity of private individuals, George G. Breed, Gerry F. Ohrstrom, Timothy M. Muller, Mrs. W. H. V. Brooke and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Murakami for helping make these expeditions possible.

Share This