Relationship between local and scientific names of fishes in Lake Malawi/Nyasa

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:A. Ambali, Kabwazi, H. , Malekano, L. , Mwale, G. , Chimwaza, D. , Ingainga, J. , Makimoto, N. , Nakayama, S. , Yuma, M. , Kada, Y.
Journal:African Study Monographs
Keywords:*Biodiversity, indigenous names, scientific names

An interview survey was carried out in 20 Malawian lakeside villages from 1999 to 2000 to clarify the relationship between local and scientific names of the fishes in Lake Malawi/Nyasa. Fishermen in various localities responded with 536 local fish names for photographs shown of 106 fish species and color morphs. Similarity analysis of local name usage produced three groups of localities corresponding with the Tonga, Tumbuka, and Nyanja/Yao languages. A single scientific fish species had 10.2 local fish names, while one local fish name covered 2.0 scientific fish species, and 64.3% of local fish names were used only for one scientific species. A few local fish names were used widely irrespective of language, although 69.5% of local fish names were collected only from one locality. These facts suggest that lakeside residents identify fish at the biological taxonomy level, although the naming was specific to a particular locality. Most fishes with a high variety of local names were shallow-water dwelling species with low local market values, whereas fishes with fewer local names were mainly offshore species of high commercial value.

Refereed Designation:Unknown
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