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  • Synodontis leopardinus
Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis leopardinus  Pellegrin, 1914
Common Names Leopard Squeaker
Luiperdkol-skreeubaber (South African)
Type Locality Zambezi River, Barotsés, Zambia.
Synonym(s) Synodontis jallae, Synodontis leopardina
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. 
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 196mm or 7.7" 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.

D1,7,A v, 8-10. Head and predorsal with straight profile, sloped about 30 degrees, dorsal fin tall, the spine equal to head length, caudal deeply forked upper lobe longer. Maxillary barbel smooth or finely papillose, not reaching base of pectoral, basel membrane narrow, dark, mandibular barbel branches short and thick. Markings variable, usually small spots over entire body, no bigger than the eye, often with a light center, sometimes in clusters, underparts clear or spotted. The humeral process is broad, triangular and obtusely pointed.
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 The species prefers larger bodies of still water and rivers with backwaters and inundation zones, for example the Okavango delta and similar habitats. See also Cat. Fresh-water Fish. Africa.v. 4 - pp320. Skelton, P (2001) A Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Southern Africa. Struik, pg255. Seegers, (2008) The Catfishes of Africa pg.433.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Cunene, Okavango and Upper Zambezi.
African Waters, Zambesi, Upper Zambesi (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Okavango (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Cunene (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Status Least Concern
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Have been found with stomachs containing detritus and plant material, as well as fish remains, but above all large quantities of insect larvae, particularly mosquito larvae.
Breeding Unknown
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
Reference Bulletin de la Société Zoologique de France v. 39, pp 25.
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Last Update 2019 Oct 21 09:21 (species record created: 2007 Jun 02 17:22)