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

Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis thamalakanensis  Fowler, 1935
Common Names Bubblebarb Squeaker
Borrelbaard-skreeubaber (South African)
Type Locality Thamalakane River at Maun, Botswana.
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. Named in reference to the Thamalakane River
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 175mm or 6.9" 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-v1, 8-9. Dorsal fin and spine long, longer than head length, caudal forked. Maxillary barbels strongly papillose and with a broad black basel membrane, mandibular teeth 17-28 in a broad band, premaxillary toothpad with a distinct ventral shelf, primary and secondary teeth distinct, tertiary teeth 13-27 in 1 or 2 rows, mandibular barbels with short, stubby branches. The humeral process is broad and bilaterally convex. The adipose fin is not very large. The base coloration is light grey with narrow blackish streaks and spots on the body; these are usually longitudinally oriented and may also merge together to form stripes. There are dots on the head and fins.
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.498.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Okavango and Upper Zambezi systems.
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)

Log in to view data on a map.
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 Annals of the Transvaal Museum v. 16 (pt 2), pp 274, Fig. 12.
Registered Keepers Keeping this species? Why not .
There is no registered keeper.
Wishlists Love this species? Click the heart to add it to your wish list.
There is no wish to keep this species.
Spotters Spotted this species somewhere? Click the binoculars!
There is no record of this fish being seen.
More on Synodontis thamalakanensis
Look up Look up Synodontis thamalakanensis on
Look up Fishbase Look up Synodontis thamalakanensis on Fishbase
Get or print a QR code for this species profile, or try our LFS label creator.
Hits 3624 hits.
Last Update 2019 Oct 21 09:24 (species record created: 2011 Jan 13 22:20)