his is not a very common Synodontis
and if you find it in your local aquatic outlets, and you are a
fan of this genus, snap them up!. Because of their relatively small
size and peaceful temperament they are a good candidate for a community
This species can be confused with the much
larger Synodontis caudalis pictured below but the point to
look out for in robertsi is the unusual large eyes similar
to S.alberti, the bigger ornate pattern on the body and short
barbels, while caudalis has smaller eyes, longer barbels,
and also grows larger at 20cm SL, it can also be territorial when
larger. S. robertsi has a deeply forked caudal fin similar
to caudalis with the top lobe being slightly longer than
the bottom lobe.
is named in honour of Mr.Tyson R. Roberts of the Museum
of Comparative Zoology, Harvard and was described by Poll in 1974
from a single specimen which was caught in the Lukenier River
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The genus Synodontis sports three pairs of barbels 1pair:
maxillary, 1 pair: outer mandibular and one pair
of inner mandibular barbels that are branched (filaments). There
are only three species that have filaments on their maxillary
barbels as well as the mandibular, and they are, S.clarias,
The barbels on the Lake Tanganyika species tend to be white.
Skin non villose. Eye sublateral but not visible
from below. Mouth small. Maxillary barbels with a thin mebrane (very
distinct). Mandibular barbels with a short tubercular ramifications
that are close together. Dorsal fin spine weakly serrated on anterior
edge and strongly serrated on posterior edge. Pectoral fin spine
strongly serrated on both edges. Adipose fin large with a long base.
Caudal fin deeply forked with pointed lobes, the top being a bit
Ground colour of head and body dark whitish.
Dorsal regions, including the adipose fin are covered with large
black irregularly shaped blotches which are smaller on the head
and snout. The whitish area between the blotches form a reticulated
pattern. Ventral regions white. Dorsal and caudal fin rays with
small dark spots forming bars ( more pronounced in the caudal fin).
Remaing fins clear.
is a very peacfull fish and a prime
candidate for an average sized community tank.
The usual feeding for Synodontis
species, being good quality flake food, tablet food, frozen bloodworm,
shrimp and prawns.
Northern Area Catfish
Group; Information Sheet 48
Syn = together; odontis = teeth.(fused
robertsi: Named in honour of
Mr.Tyson R.Roberts of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard.
Top image: Allan James @
Bottom image: ©
from the type locality, River Lukenie, Central Democratic Republic
of the Congo
|22-26c ( 72-80f )
| 6.2 - 7.5
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