s of the date of September 2021, 62 species of Chiloglanis
have been described from freshwater systems across
tropical Africa and is the second most species rich
genus of mochokids, second only to Synodontis
in the African continent and trying to identify most
of them is an effort as they have variable patterns
of dark spots and blotches on a brown body colouration.
the ease with which Chiloglanis individuals
can be differentiated from other mochokid genera based
on genus-typical traits such as pigmentation and mouth
shape, Chiloglanis species are challenging
to identify and differentiate (Seegers, 2008).
Male - Sabie River, South Africa
first glance you would think that you are looking
at a loricariid species from South America but I think
that the Astroblepids, that are closely related to
the Loricariids, look even more similar. Continental
drift is one of the descriptions of the earliest ways
geologists thought continents moved over time and
"supercontinent," Gondwana, which eventually
moved to form the continents we know today. Fossils
of similar organisms across widely disparate continents
encouraged the revolutionary theory of continental
drift so it is not too surprising to to see similarities
between our factsheet of the month and the sucker
mouth catfish of South America given that these two
continents of South America and Africa were once joined
at the hip, so to speak.
species this month hails from South Africa and is
endemic to the river streams of the Phongola and Incomati
systems. One of the most characteristic features of
the group is the presence of an oral disc (or sucker)
formed from modifications of the jaws and lips, allowing
them to support themselves while feeding within the
fast-flowing river habitats that they occupy (Vigliotta,
2008; Friel & Vigliotta, 2011; Schmidt et al.,
2014; 2015; 2016; 2017;)
- South America, Colombia, Department of Putumayo
The above image
shows a member of the Astroblepidae family of South
America and the likeness with the African sub-family,
Chiloglanidinae, with the oral disc and the colouration
of this species. and the same conditions they encounter
in their natural habitats.
it appears that Chiloglanis
is restricted to shallow waters and waterfall habitats
and, and although waterfalls do not to act as a barrier
to dispersal for this species, deep waters prevent
their dispersal downstream from their high-altitude
habitats (Morris et al., 2016).
Distrbution: Pongolo and Incomati River systems. Type
Upper Pivaan River (Pongola River system), altitude
4600 ft. (30º28'E, 27º30'S), Natal.
The common name of the "Pennant-tailed
suckermouth" pertains to the shape of the males
caudal fin while the females are forked (emarginate).
Africa:Endemic to the escarpment streams of the
Pongolo and Incomati River systems. Type locality:
Upper Pivaan River (Pongola River system), altitude
4600 ft. (30º28'E, 27º30'S), Natal. Found
in upper catchments in fast flows of rocky habitats.
Typically in the fastest and often shallowest riffles.
A few populations in Mpumalanga are known from low-veld
sections of the Sabie and Incomati Rivers.
Oral disc large, maxillary
barbels short, not reaching beyond hind edge of disc,
mandibular barbels very short, mandibular toothpad
narrow, teeth closely gathered, up to 12. Dorsal spine
short (half length of fin).
Dark brown to black with
light brown patches and a series of vertical linear
spots along back.
Care & Compatibility
Good oxygenated water from
a power filter. Sand or gravel substrate with smooth
rocks or pebbles. Their dorsal and pectoral fins are
sharp and can cause wounds if not handled carefully.
Males with conical
gennital papillum and penant shaped caudal fin. The
females caudal fin is emarginate.
Mouth and dentition suggest
that it is a bottom feeder and algal grazer. In the
aquarium feed algae, fly larvae foods, bloodworm,
and flake food.
The tail. Dorsal fin: The primary rayed fin(s)
on top of the body. Emarginate: Concave; used to describe
the posterior border of a caudal fin which is inwardly
curved; a caudal fin with a slightly concave margin.
Mandibular barbels: Pertaining to
the lower jaw. (mandibular barbels). Maxillarybarbels:
Pertaining to the upper jaw (maxillary barbels). Papillum: A small fleshy projection,
plural papillae. Pectoral fins: The paired fins just
behind the head.
Cheilos = lip; glanis = catfish.
J., Bills, R. & Cambray, J. 2007. Chiloglanis
anoterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
2007. Ferraris, C.J. Jr.,
2007. Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes:
Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary
types. Zootaxa 1418:1-628. Froese, R. and D. Pauly.
Editors. 2017. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic
publication. www.fishbase.org, ( 02/2017 ).
National Geographic. Resource Library
| Encyclopedic Entry. Continental drift. Seegers, L.
2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification
and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany.
604 p. Skelton, P.H. 1993 A complete guide
to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern
Book Publishers. 388 p. Water & Sanitation (Powerpoint
Presentation): Dept. water & Sanitation,Republic of South Africa. Presented by Beason
Mwaka IncoMaputo Water Commission - South Africa 11th
Dec. 2017. Watson, Henry B. Unrecognised endemic
biodiversity within East African Chiloglanis catfish
populations. University of Bristol. Dec. 2019.