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

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis ricardoae  Seegers, 1996
Common Name Ricardo's Squeaker
Type Locality Kazizi, some kilometers northeast of Muze, northern shore of Lake Rukwa, Rukwa region, western Tanzania, 7°37'N, 31°36'E
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 Miss C.K. Ricardo, later Mrs. Ricardo-Bertram, who, together with Ms.J. Owen, intensively collected in the Lake Rukwa drainage and co-authored several important papers on the fishes of East and Central Africa.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 78mm or 3.1" 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.

Small species of the genus. Snout rounded, forehead slightly curved, concave between the eyes.Head and predorsal length relatively long. Humeral process short and deep, triangular and pointed. Dorsal spine feebly serrated posteriorly. Adipose fin large. Caudal fin deeply forked. Adult colouration olive brown lighter on belly, with dark spots on the body which have the size of the eye, but are smaller on head. Young specimens are olive green.Throat and belly are whitish. White spots or bands - depending on the age - cross the caudal peduncle and the body behind and in front of the adipose fin. Additional white spots can be seen between the humeral process and the belly dorsal of the pectoral fins. The fish show indistinct dark brown spots on their body and small spots of the same colour on the head. The lateral line is light and well marked. The fins are of a dark brown with indistinct dark spots.
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.
General Remarks The colour pattern of juvenile S. ricardoae and S. rukwaensis is very similiar, the adult colouration and eventual size is quite different.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Tanzania, Endemic to the Lake Rukwa drainage. Recorded from the northeastern shore of the lake, the Luika River, above and below the falls. It is probably spread throughout the whole lake.
African Waters, Southern Rift Lakes, Rukwa (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
Other Parameters This catfish can be maintained at high pH levels (8-9).
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Breeding Not reported but thought to be an egg scatterer and showing no parental care.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
References The Fishes of the Lake Rukwa Drainage, Seegers pg.245
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique. v. 278
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Last Update 2011 Feb 15 15:23 (species record created: 2009 Apr 08 23:30)