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

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis vanderwaali  Skelton & White, 1990
Common Names Finetooth Squeaker
Fryntand-skreeubaber (South African)
Type Locality Okavango River, Namibia.
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. The species is named for the collector of the holotype, Dr. Ben Van der Waal,in recognition of his donations of fish collections from Northern Nanibian rivers to the J. L. B. Smith institute of Icthyology and the Albany Museum.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 156mm or 6.1" 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.

D 1, 7; A v-vi, 7-9. Dorsal fin spine about equal length to head length, caudal forked. Diagnostic features are a large number of mandibular teeth (25-41) in a single row, premaxillary toothpad with a narrow ventral shelf, primary and secondary teeth distinct and a very high number of fine tertiary teeth in several rows across the toothpad. Maxillary barbels simple and long, extending beyond pectoral bases, with narrow dark basel membrane, mandibular barbels with short, stubby branches. The humeral process is broad and has a blunt tip, and its upper margin is convex. The base coloration is olive-brown and covered in pupil to eye-sized round to elongate dark brown spots that may run together to form vermiculate stripes and sometimes a reticulated pattern. The head and fins are speckled.
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 See also Skelton, P (2001) A Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Southern Africa. Struik, pg256. Seegers, (2008) The Catfishes of Africa pg.503.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Occurs in the Kwando River (Upper Zambezi), Okavango River and Delta and the Cunene River.
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
Breeding Unknown
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Jump to next section Further Information
Reference Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters v. 1 (no. 3), pp 284, Figs. 5 (a-b).
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Last Update 2019 Oct 21 09:23 (species record created: 2011 Jan 13 22:18)