In the Upper Zambezi and Okavango ecoregions, Brycinus lateralis, Hepsetus cuvieri, Schilbe intermedius and Serranochromis macrocephalus are important in subsistence fisheries, while S. intermedius and S. macrocephalus are often caught in commercial catches. Despite their importance, there is little information on their age and growth and age validation. Growth zone deposition rate in otoliths of B. lateralis, H. cuvieri, S. intermedius and S. macrocephalus was validated as annual using edge analysis in this study. Annual deposition of growth zones was corroborated by a fluorochrome marking experiment. Both methods demonstrated that one growth zone was deposited annually. Edge analysis demonstrated that the highest proportion of opaque zones was detected between August and December, most likely as a result of slow growth during lower temperature water during the preceding winter. With growth zone deposition validated as annual, future research should focus on determining the growth, maturity and mortality rates of these species, parameters which are important for their management.
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Vol. 51 • No. 3