Irvineia voltae Trewavas, 1943




Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: before 1943

IUCN RedList status: Endangered


Known only from the (3) syntypes collected at an unspecified date sometime prior to 1943, from above the Senchi Rapids, Volta river, Ghana. Searches were mounted between 1961 and 1988 to relocate this species, but were unsuccessful (Harrison & Stiassny, 1999). It is probably extinct.


"Noted as possibly extinct by Harrison and Stiassny (1999: 313), this west African species of catfish may have been impacted by the construction of the Volta Dam on the lower Volta River. The construction of this dam may have changed the available habitat to this species (Tyson Roberts, pers. comm.). The habitat is also declining due to bad agricultural practices (Entsua-Mensah and Lalèyè, 2010). However, the extent to which these habitat changes affect I. voltae across its range is not known, therefore P(local) is set relatively low, and with a broad range. The species is currently known only from the lower River Volta, and this entire region is likely to be impacted by the presence of the dam. There is some possibility that the species is found in nearby tributaries, though this is not
confirmed. "

(Keith et al., 2017:323-324)



Volta river, Ghana


Biology & Ecology




Syntypes: BMNH 1944.2.9.19; BMNH 1944.2.9.20; BMNH 1944.2.9.21






Original scientific description:

Trewavas, E. (1943). New schilbeid fishes from the Gold Coast, with a synopsis of the African genera. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London Series volume B113 (pt 3): 164-171.


Other references:

Dankwa, H., Entsua-Mensah, M. and Lalèyè, P. (2020). Irvineia voltae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T182333A135028097. Accessed on 09 December 2023.

De Vos, L. (1995). A systematic revision of the African Schilbeidae (Teleostei, Siluriformes) Ann. Mus. R. Afr, Cent. Sci. Zool. 271: 1-449.

Entsua-Mensah, M. and Lalèyè, P. (2006). Irvineia voltae. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 21 June 2011.

Entsua-Mensah, M. and Lalèyè, P. (2010). Irvineia voltae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T182333A7862157. Accessed on 09 December 2023.

Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2008). "Irvineia voltae" in FishBase. Apr. 2011 version. (

Harrison, I.J. and Stiassny. M.L.J. 1999. The quiet crisis: a preliminary listing of the freshwater fishes of the World that are extinct or “missing in action”. In: R. MacPhee (ed.), Extinctions in Near Time: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences, pp.271–332. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.

Keith, D. A., Butchart, S. H. M., Regan, H. M., Harrison, I., Ackakaya, H. R., Solow, A. R. and Burgman, M. A. (2017). Inferring extinctions I: a structured method using information on threats. Biological Conservation 214: 320-327.

Paugy, D. D., Leveque, C. and Teugels, G. G. (2003). The fresh and brackish water fishes of West Africa. Museum National d'histoire naturelle, Paris.


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