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Down Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Phyllonemus typus  Boulenger, 1906
Common Name Spatula Barbel Catfish
Type Locality Niamkolo, Zambia, Lake Tanganyika.
Pronunciation fie low NEE muss - tie puss
Etymology The generic name comes from the Greek phyllos, meaning leaf and nema, meaning thread, in reference to the distinctive barbel shape of the type species Phyllonemus typus. The specific epithet means form in Latin.
Article Link - CotM Right 2008 Right March
Down Species Information
Size 88mm or 3.5" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification An upper body colour of brown-maroon with a cream coloured belly. Easily distinguished from the rarer P. filinemus by the small spatula-shaped endings on their maxillary barbels.
Sexing The male is larger and more strongly built than the female. The female may also be plumper when viewed from above.
General Remarks Other literature sources of note are: Ochi, H., A. Rossiter and Y. Yanagisawa, 2000 The first record of a biparental mouthbrooding catfish. J. Fish Biol. 57(6):1601-1604. Bailey, R. M., and D. Stewart, 1984 Bagrid Catfishes from Lake Tanganyika, with a Key and Descriptions of New Taxa. UMMZ, Ann Arbor. Eccles, D.H., 1992 FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Tanzania. FAO, Rome.
Down Habitat Information
Distribution Africa: Lake Tanganyika.
African Waters, Western Rift Valley Lakes, Tanganyika (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2021.
pH 7.6 - 9.0
Temperature 23.0-28.0°C or 73.4-82.4°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters A pH in between 7.8 and 8.2 is best suited to aquarium husbandry.
Down Husbandry Information
Feeding Will readily take most prepared foods. Its diet should be supplemented with live foods from time to time. In the wild, its diet has been shown to consist of very small fish and larval insects. User data.
Furniture Prefers rock work over driftwood or plants. Will make its home in small crevices.
Compatibility A very peaceful fish which may be out competed for food and picked on if kept with much larger, more aggressive fish. A model citizen except for its large mouth which means it can and will eat smaller fishes. Should be kept in a group, since it is a fairly social fish and will be emboldened by the presence of conspecifics.
Breeding According to Ochi et al, 2000, P. typus is a biparental mouth brooder. Male and female form a strong pair bond before mating and caring for young, with the male and/or female incubating and hatching the eggs in their mouth.
Breeding Reports There are 4 breeding reports, read them all here.
Down Further Information
Reference Transactions of the Zoological Society of London v. 17 (pt 6, no. 1), pp 552, Pl. 32 (fig. 3).
Registered Keepers There are 31 registered keepers, view all "my cats" data.
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There are 13 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2020 Sep 16 02:06 (species record created: 2002 Oct 12 00:00)