Catfish of the Month Right Arrow March 2008 • Article © Birger Kamprath, uploaded March 01, 2008



Spatula Barbel Catfish - Phyllonemus typus   Boulenger, 1906


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Jump to next section Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific NamePhyllonemus typus  Boulenger, 1906
Common NameSpatula Barbel Catfish
Type LocalityNiamkolo, Zambia, Lake Tanganyika.
Pronunciationfie low NEE muss - tie puss
EtymologyThe 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.
Jump to next section Species Information
Size 90mm or 3.5" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
IdentificationAn 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.
SexingThe male is larger and more strongly built than the female. The female may also be plumper when viewed from above.
Jump to next section Habitat Information
DistributionEndemic to Lake Tanganyika.
African Waters, Western Rift Valley Lakes, Tanganyika (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Show it on a map (Click the map-icon to show/hide map of species distribution)
IUCN Red List StatusLeast Concern
pH7.6 - 9.0
Temperature23.0-28.0°C or 73.4-82.4°F (Show species within this range)
Other ParametersA pH in between 7.8 and 8.2 is best suited to aquarium husbandry.
Jump to next section Husbandry Information
FeedingWill 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.
FurniturePrefers rock work over driftwood or plants. Will make its home in small crevices.
CompatibilityA 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.
BreedingAccording 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.
Jump to next section Further Information
ReferencesTrans. Zool. Soc. Lond.v. 17 (pt 6, no. 1) - pp552 - Pl. 32 (fig. 3)
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.
Registered Keepers(1) Birger (k: 10), (2) synoguy, (3) worton[pl] (k: 4), who also notes: "I keep 2 pairs in 240l tank. They are very peacful and graceful fish. They are shy at the beggining but now my p. typus feed straight from my hand! Well worth keeping.", (4) Barbie (k: 5), (5) longstocking (k: 30), who also notes: "I had a huge spawn and then sold off the parents. I kept this species for about a year before spawning. Pairs need peace and quiet. Currently I have 30 fry growing out from one spawn. They are sensitive to water quality but can be kept in small tanks", (6) Julie (k: 3), who also notes: "awesome little fish, nice fat bellies!!!", (7) ali12345, (8) oxdeleon, (9) Piscis, (10) d_frag, (11) zappa0609, (12) Phyllonemus (k: 4), (13) tezr, (14) Yann (k: 2), (15) Marduk, (16) Richard B, who also notes: "i thought i'd sold all these but one has appeared from no-where in the main tank", (17) emartin, (18) daniel4832, (19) mikek, (20) xsweeneyx, (21) minifoot77 (k: 5), (22) nvcichlids (k: 12), (23) PNTaquatics (k: 7), who also notes: "These guys have spawned a few times for me. They spawn in the same vase everytime. They will eat their fry if left in the tank.", (24) amiidae, (25) kwalker, (26) bassgenie, (27) Stalin, (28) ajw9356 (k: 7), (29) CichliDon, (30) Gulper.

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Breeding Reports(1) nvcichlids (b: 49), (2) kwalker (b: 28), (3) CichliDon (b: 11).
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Last Update2013 Jul 19 18:53 (species record created: 2008 Mar 01 04:10)

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