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Hemisynodontis membranaceus  (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1809)

Image contributors to this species:

Allan James (1) Danny Blundell (3) Hippocampus Bildarchiv (3) Karl-Heinz Dau (1 Stamp) Johnny Jensen's Photographic Library (2) Dave Rinaldo (1) Dave Schumacher (1)

ScotCat Sources:

Factsheet Etymology = Genus Etymology = species

Other Sources:

Fishbase  Google Search  All Catfish Species Inventory

Relevant Information:

Similar to Brachysynodontis batensoda but lacks the fin and body spots and has membraned maxillary barbels. The genus Hemisynodontis is Monotypic (contains only one species) and there is a school of thought from some authors that it should be reclassified into the Synodontis genus. Fishbase has this species listed as Synodontis membranaceus but the Catolog of Fishes has H. membranaceusas being valid. The main difference between the two genera of Hemisynodontis and Synodontis is the number of gill rakers. The Synodontis genus has between 7-33. Hemisynodontis, has 59-65. That is a big difference along with the mandibular teeth with Synodontis 6-90, versus Hemisynodontis 8-16. Aquarium Care: It is a peaceful and hardy fish even though it does grow quite big, but I have found that it really is a gentle giant. Do give it a decent size tank and I would suggest a 4ft being the minimum with an aquascape consisting of rockwork or pipes for it to retire too, and large plants such as Giant Valis (Vallisneria gigantea) that grow partly along the water surface, and then you could witness this ‘Synodontis’ eating in its inverted position. Diet: The usual feeding for Synodontis species, being good quality flake food, tablet food, frozen bloodworm, shrimp and prawns.

Common Name:

Moustache Catfish 


Pimelodus membranceus, Synodontis guentheri, Synodontis.membranceus


Mochokidae blycipitidae


Africa: Chad, Niger (including the Bénoué) Senegal, Gambia and Volta basins; also the Nile in northern Africa. Type locality: Fl. Nil (Egypte).


35.5cm. (14½ins)


22-26°C (71-79°F)




Northern Area Catfish Group; Information Sheet 01
Burgess, W.E. 1989 An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes. A preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey (USA). 784 p.
ScotCat Factsheet: no.19: Jan. 1998



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