month (July 2022) we travel to the Asian continent
and to a member of the Schilbeidae family and the
Schilbe genera which we have covered twice
in this factsheet series, (S.
marmoratus) and are not all that easy
to identify from each other. The three mentioned all
seem to posses the blotch on the operculum and they
either posses an adipose fin or not.
pair-female to rear
The adipose fin
conundrum has a history that in the past there was
two genera, Schilbe and Eutropius
with the later not possessing an adipose fin but this
characteristic was variable even within a species
so Eutropius is now considered as a synonym
of Schilbe. In 1984 De Vos transfered grenfelli
from the Eutropius genus to Schilbe
as it had a small adipose fin. The type genus is Silurus
1758 which does not posess an adipose fin.
The Schilbe genera
are found in all of the large water systems in Africa
and our factsheet of the month hails from the Congo
River basin, Ogowe, Nyanga, and Ntem-Campo River basins,
Nyong and Lokondje basins with the type locality being
in Bolobo which sits on the border of the western
part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and straddles
the Congo River across from The Republic of the Congo
up river from its capital Kinshasa.
Congo River basin, Ogowe, Nyanga, and Ntem-Campo
River basins, Nyong and Lokondje basins. Type
Bolobo (star on map)
At the moment (2022) there are 21 species
of Schilbe in the African rivers
and not all of them are suited to an aquarium
life as they can grow fairly large. They will
not do well alone so would need at least a
small group as they are social animals and
need each others company. They will not spend
all of their time on the bottom as they like
the more upper layers of the aquarium. Provide
shaded areas such as planting so they feel
comfortable in their surroundings.
altipinnis, Eutropius congensis, E. congolensis, E.
liberiensis, E.mentalis, E. niloticus, E. grenfelli,
Congo River basin, Ogowe, Nyanga, and Ntem-Campo River
basins, Nyong and Lokondje basins. Type locality:
Dorsal spines (total): 1. Diagnosis:
adipose fin present and fully developed. Anterior
nostrils closer to each other than the posterior pair;
nasal barbel not reaching beyond the posterior border
of the eye; inner side of pectoral spine weakly serrated;
snout reaching beyond lower jaw; head rounded.
Grey/brown head and back; sides
silvery with an irregular greyish pattern and a iridescent
reflection. Base of pectoral, pelvic and anal fins
yellowish, the fins often being faintly greyish speckled;
ventral side of head pale; belly silvery white (De
Care & Compatibility
Large aquarium with tankmates
not too small as they could become prey during night
time activities. Will do better with conspecifics.
Omnivorous or predominantly
carnivorous, feeding on fruits, leaves, grains, insect
larvae and nymphs, and small fish; very voracious.
No problem in the aquarium as they will eat most aquarium
Adipose fin:Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind
the rayed dorsal fin.
Anal fin:The median, unpaired,
ventrally located fin that lies behind the anus, usually
on the posterior half of the fish.
Caudal fin:The tail.
to the same species; individuals or populations of
the same species.
Dorsal fin:The primary
rayed fin(s) on top of the body. Nasal barbel: On top of the head,
by the nostrils. (nasal barbels). Operculum: The bony covering of the
gills of fishes. Pectoral fins: The paired fins just
behind the head. Pelvic fins: The paired fins, between
the pectorals and the anal fins. (also referred to
as ventrals). Snout: The part of the head in front
of the eyes.
schérifié (noble). It probably announces
the superiority of this species for its taste". grenfelli:
Named for the collector of the type specimen, Mr.
G. Grenfel, Protestant missionary.
De Vos, L.,
1995. A systematic revision of the African Schilbeidae
(Teleostei, Siluriformes). With an annotated bibliography.
Ann. Mus. R. Afr. Centr., Sci. Zool., 271:1-450. 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.
2019. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication.
www.fishbase.org, ( 12/2019 ). Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes
of Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance.
Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p.