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Down arrow Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Synodontis pleurops  Boulenger, 1897
Common Names Bug Eyed Syno
Gabel-Fiederbartwels (Germany)
Type Locality Stanley [Boyoma] Falls, upper Congo River, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Pronunciation sin oh don tiss - ploo RAWPS
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. 
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Down arrow Species Information
Size 325mm or 12.8" 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.

A very distinctive Synodontis easily identified by its large head, large eyes, relatively long, highly forked tail and dainty little mouth. The basic colour pattern is silvery white overlaid with brown-black markings, but there is considerable variation between individuals. Some specimens are spotted while others are striped. The distinctive markings of juveniles fade somewhat in adults.
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.
Down arrow Habitat Information
Distribution Africa: Congo basin except Luapula system and Lower Congo.
African Waters, Congo, Upper Congo (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 2009.
pH 6.0 - 8.0
Temperature 23.0-27.0°C or 73.4-80.6°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters More tolerant of slightly acidic pH than many other Synodontis species.
Down arrow Husbandry Information
Feeding Omnivorous, but more interested in algae and vegetable matter than meat. Tends to be out-competed for food if kept in the company of more aggressive Synodontis species.
Furniture Ample hiding places should be provided. The fish likes to cling to the sides of the aquarium rather than lying on the substrate, so dense Vallisneria and tall driftwood are to be recommended.
Compatibility A peaceful, somewhat skittish fish that can nevertheless hold its own in boisterous company.
Breeding Not reported in the aquarium.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down arrow Further Information
Reference Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Series 6) v. 20 (no. 119) (art. 50), pp 423.
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Last Update 2020 Oct 24 05:41 (species record created: 2001 Apr 21 00:00)