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

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis fuelleborni  Hilgendorf & Pappenheim, 1903
Common Name
Type Locality Songwe, Lake Rukwa, east of Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania.
Pronunciation sin oh don tiss
Etymology According to Cuvier, Synodontis is an "ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile". It is apparently not derived, as often reported, from syn-, together and odous, tooth, presumed etymology of the lizardfish genus Synodus and in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth of both genera. In honour of the German surgeon-major and anthropologist Prof. Dr. F. Fulleborn (18661933).
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 180mm or 7.1" 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.

Ricardo (1939a: 651) wrote:"Dark yellowish green, mottled or marbled with bright yellow; fins grey with dark spots arranged rather irregularly in transverse series.". From Seegers: a freshly caught fish was bright yellow with an olive tinge, mottled or marbled with irregular dark olive brown spots. Thes spots partly merged and formed large areas on the body which are separated from each other by thin irregular lines or bands of bright yellow. In captivity this bright yellow ground colour got darker and the marbling became more prominent. The colouration of the juveniles shows a pattern which is more coarse than that of the adults but in general is quite similar.The species shows some changes from juveniles to adults, but these changes are not very dramatic.
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 punctured by the sharp fin spines (which hurts - be careful). 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. It 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.
General Remarks Fishbase lists 192mm TL. Specimens recorded from the Rufigi system may be a different species. See also The Fishes of the Lake Rukwa Drainage, Seegers p240.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Africa: Lake Rukwa and Rufigi basin in Tanzania.
African Waters, Southern Rift Lakes, Rukwa (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Tanzania Waters, Rufigi (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
Temperature 20.0-25.0°C or 68-77°F (Show species within this range)
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Mann (1964a)concluded that there was a more dominant vegetable component in the diet.
Breeding Unreported. It is thought they spawn in the wild in April or May.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
Reference Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin 1903 (no. 6), pp 265.
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Last Update 2019 Oct 06 07:42 (species record created: 2004 Nov 27 00:00)