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

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NameSynodontis orientalis  Seegers, 2008
Common Name
Type LocalityKanga, stream in lower Ruvu River drainage, 16 km west of the Ruvu on the road from Bagamoyo to Tanga, Tanzania, 6°33'S, 38°42'E.
Pronunciationsin oh don tiss
EtymologySynodontis: From the Greek syn, meaning together, and odontos, meaning tooth; in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth. The name is abjectival and refers to the distribution region, which lies in the east of the African continent.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 88mm or 3.5" 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.

The base coloration is whitish with large grey-brown blotches on the flanks, leaving only the belly white as well as irregular broad white patches in front of and at the end of the adipose fin. The body is covered in small black-brown dots of around pupil size, dots on the head are smaller and on the rayed fins the dots are noticeably larger and irregular. The maxillary barbels have a narrow membrane on their inner face which extends for about half their length, they are not branched or undulating. The outer mandibular barbels have 3-6 simple branches, the inner mandibular barbels have 8-9 simple lateral branches usually arranged in pairs. The humeral process is slender and triangular with a slightly concave upper and slightly thickened lower margin. The adipose fin is overall not very large.
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 RemarksAble to jump over obstacles, a cover is recommended.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionAfrica: Ruvu drainage in Tanzania, may also occur in the Rufiji.
African Waters, Tanzania Waters, Ruwu (click on these areas to find other species found there)
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Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingWil eat all the usual foods, from live foods to flake.
CompatibilityThese fishes are completely peacful towards other tankmates.
BreedingUnreported. The locality where the holotype was collected, a small stream, is seasonal. The adult fish must migrate upstream from the Ruvu in the rainy season to spawn.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesSeegers [L.] 2008:466 [544] The Catfishes of Africa
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Breeding ReportsNone.
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Last Update2011 Jan 17 09:31 (species record created: 2009 Jan 21 16:03)