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

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameSynodontis zambezensis  Peters, 1852
Common NamesBrown Squeaker
Bruin Skreeubaber (South African)
Type LocalityZambezi R., Mozambique.
Synonym(s)Hemisynodontis zambezensis
Pronunciationsin oh don tiss - zam BEE zen siss
EtymologySynodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. -ensis denoted a place, river etc., after the River Zambezi.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 430mm or 16.9" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationAll 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.

D I, 7; A iv-vi, 7-10. Body deep, adipose fin large, caudal forkerd, barbels long and slender, mandibular branches filamentous. Plain olive brown or gray. Small spots present or absent. Spotted specimens are more common in populations from the Limpopo, Incomati, and Pholongo. Juveniles with albino patches on body often found.
SexingFirst 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.
General RemarksSouth African angling record .29 kg, Zimbabwe .82 kg, Malawi .57 kg.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionAfrica: Pongolo, Limpopo, Pungwe and Zambezi basins; Rukwa Lake; Luangwe River.
African Waters, Pungwe (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Limpopo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Southern Rift Lakes, Rukwa (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Maputo, Pongolo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Zambesi (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Zambesi, Luangwa (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH6.5 - 7.8
Temperature18.5-25.0°C or 65.3-77°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersFound in pools and slow-flowing reaches of perennial and seasonal rivers. Prefers riverine habitats to floodplains. Shelters in holes or crevices or on the underside of logs, frequently in an upside-down position.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingActive at night, a bottom feeder on detritus and plant matter such as seeds as well as small invertebrates like insects and snails.
Suggested TankmatesMedium-sized cyprinids and cichlids with similar requirements.
BreedingUnreported. In the wild, spawns in the summer during rainy periods.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesMonatsb. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1852 682
Skelton, P. (2001) A Complete Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Southern Africa. Struik
Registered KeepersNone.
Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2013 Jul 19 17:55 (species record created: 2005 Jul 19 00:00)