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Cat-eLog Right Arrow Mochokidae Right Arrow Mochokinae Right Arrow Synodontis

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis ocellifer  Boulenger, 1900
Common Name(s) Ocellated Synodontis
Type Locality Kunchow Cr., Gambia R., w. Africa.
Pronunciation sin oh don tiss - awe CELL if err
Etymology Synodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. ''ocellifer'', having little eyes, from ''ocellus'', diminutive of ''oculus'', eye and "ifer" meaning "to carry". In reference to the black spots (possibly with white centers) found on the flanks of this species.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 200mm (7.9") SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp. []
Identification All species in the genus Synodontis have a hardened head cap that has attached a process (humeral process) which is situated behind the gill opening and pointed towards the posterior. The dorsal fin and pectoral fins have a hardened first ray which is serrated. Caudal fin is always forked. There is one pair of maxillary barbels, sometimes having membranes and occasionally branched. The two pairs of mandibular barbels are often branched and can have nodes attached. The cone-shaped teeth in the upper jaw are short. S-shaped and movable in the lower jaw. These fish produce audible sounds when disturbed rubbing the base of the pectoral spine against the pectoral girdle.

Pale yellowish-brown body with black spots. Some specimens have lighter background coloration or minimal spotting. The characteristic to look for when comparing with other similar spotted species is the adipose fin. In S. ocellifer is is very long running almost from caudal to dorsal fin.
Sexing First lay the fish in your hand with its head toward your palm and the tail toward your fingers. Hold the dorsal spine between your middle and ring finger so the fish is belly up and you won't get stuck (Which by the way, hurts like crazy!). The genital pore is in a small furrow of tissue (in healthy fish) and will be obstructed by the pelvic fins. Pull down on the tail gently to arch the fishes spine and the pelvic fins will stand and the furrow open to display the genital pore and the anus of the fish. The male has a somewhat ridged genital papillae on which the spermatoduct is on the back side, facing the tail fin. A gravid female will also show an extended papillae but the oviduct is on the ventral side of the papillae (And may also show a little redness if really gravid). A thin or emaciated female will have just two pink pores, the oviduct and the anus.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution West Africa, various river basins from Senegal to Chad (Senegal, Gambia, Volta, Chad, Niger basins)
African Waters, Sénégal (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Chad (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Volta (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Gambia (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Nigeria Waters, Niger (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
pH 6.2 - 8.0
Temperature 23.0-28.0°C or 73.4-82.4°F (Show others within this range)[]
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Omnivore. As with other Synodontis, but with a little more meat.
Furniture Rocks, driftwood, plants.
Compatibility Juvenile fish are suited to a community tank, but adult fish grow fairly large, and may eat smaller fish.
Breeding By hormone injection in Eastern Europe.
Jump to next section Further Information
References Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond.1900 (pt 3) - pp514
Registered Keepers (1) TP (k: 4), (2) Birger (k: 4), (3) synoguy, (4) Silurus, (5) GreenSynoMan, (6) synodont_fan (k: 2), who also notes: "Quite mild mannered. Not very active. Cuter when small, but the adult pattern is nice.", (7) Redcatman, who also notes: "I live in a soft water area. The only water quality parameter measured regularly is pH which is kept between 6.5 and 7.0. Ammonia and nitrite are usually zero when I do occasionally measure them. Nitrate controlled by parial water changes every 2-3 weeks. The tank is filtered using an old (40 years!) Eheim external filter which has been in continuous use since it was purchased. Contains various Eheim filter materials also bought 40 years ago. Only material replaced is a layer of filter wool. Filter is cleaned out when water flow drops which is usually every 2-3 months.", (8) KenyanSandBoa, (9) cwm, (10) kvnbyl (k: 2), (11) nuth88, (12) kagal, (13) vriesea (k: 2), who also notes: "Bought two in PCCA auction. Full grown, $7 for the pair.", (14) Junttis (p: 2), (15) jippo (k: 2), (16) syno-kev, who also notes: "this one is out all the time about 4 inches not really that exciting though", (17) Plunt, (18) glyde (k: 2), (19) aledk85, (20) cathje (k: 5), (21) Shovelnose, (22) Cornuta, (23) Moomoo, (24) Khalid, (25) Nick44, (26) sonovue, (27) gotya, (28) phenix, (29) wwajfd, who also notes: "Slow grower", (30) bigcatsrus, (31) oliv67, (32) Caracal, (33) Bloodywertzie, (34) Mike C, (35) Avinitlarge, (36) TheFishGuy, (37) wimmels, (38) VonKarppis, (39) snakelover (p: 3), (40) andregurov (p: 2, k: 2), (41) JamesStuddart, (42) tomr (p: 2), (43) Cyberdragon, (44) arapaimag, (45) milosz, (46) Catfish freak, (47) lasteeves (k: 6), (48) Brisch, (49) Jass, (50) dmcat, (51) Shipmonkey, (52) mcaquatic, (53) VickyEll7, (54) Arron_N.

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Breeding Reports None.
Article - CotM 2012 August
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Last Update 2008 Jan 21 12:10 (species record created: 2001 May 04 00:00)

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