The Loskop Dam is the most polluted impoundment in the Olifants River, because it receives pollutants from the entire mine-dominated upper catchment. However, histopathology of fish inhabiting this polluted dam is scantly explored. The current study aimed to investigate the histopathology of the gills and liver of Labeo rosae from Loskop Dam. Alkaline pH was observed throughout the study with most metal concentrations exceeding the water quality guideline for aquatic ecosystems. Regressive changes were the most prominent lesions for both organs with gills showing relatively more pathologies than the liver. Epithelial lifting was 100% prevalent during both seasons in the gills whereas a significant expansion of lipofuscin-laden melanomacrophages (MMCs) showed 100% prevalence in the liver. Gills were significantly different in their prevalence of histopathology between the two seasons, which was not the case for liver. The histopathology recorded in this study shows that the health of L. rosae at Loskop Dam was compromised. Given the exacerbating pollution level in the upper Olifants River, these findings serve as a warning to conservation authorities and emphasise the necessity for regular monitoring of fish health at Loskop Dam to assess pollution levels using fish health as a sensitive indicator to altering pollution levels.
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Vol. 55 • No. 2