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Synodontis longirostris  Boulenger, 1902    

s I do love the Synodontis genera
and have for many years I couldn't help but compile another factsheet on them and a real beauty to boot in the "Long-Nosed Synodontis" S. longirostris. Not a colourful species but none the less an impressive looking Synodontis when in good condition. I spied a group of them in a large tank in Pier Aquatics, the premier aquatic outlet in Wigan northern England, and a haven for us catfish aficionados. I couldn't take any of them home as tank space was at a premium and with a stated SL of 50cm (20ins) it was definitely a no no.




Synodontis longirostris


Synodontis longirostris



This is one of the easier species of Synodontis to identify with the spotted body and the long down turned mouth. The SL size of 50cm (20ins) may not be obtainable in the home aquarium as it is in its natural habitat but nonetheless it is a fairly large species and would need a sizeable tank to house them.


Synodontis longirostris - head and mouth view showing the tooth plates.



Synodontis longirostris - Head & mouth view showing the tooth plates.


Shape of humeral process

Shape of humeral process

Shape of the mouth plates

Shape of the tooth plates



The above two images show the shape of the humeral process and the tooth plate of S. longirostris.




Small eyes. Small and low adipose fin. A long, conical, prominent snout. Small and supero-lateral, 1.7 (1.7 to 3.6) time in interorbital space that is flat. Humeral process is triangular or subtriangular, the tip is generally obtuse or sometimes truncated, granular and without Crest, 2.2 (1.8 to 2.9) times as long as high.

Light grey to brown/olive, fully dotted with black spots. quite large and rounded, smaller on the head. Underbelly largely clear with only a few spots scattered here and there. All the fins dotted with black spots.

Aquarium Care

Can be a little territorial as most Synodontis will be but no problems in a large aquarium. Provide hiding places to decrease any territorial aggressions.



Any larger Characins and peaceful Cichlids.


Not reported, but they pair of to breed in their natural habitat.

Sexual Differences

It is likely that the sexes can be externally differentiated by females having a proportionately wider and deeper body than the males. There may also be differences in the vent area.



Will take most prepared aquarium foods such as frozen bloodworm, whiteworm, shrimp, prawns, insect larvae, tablet food, a good quality flake food and pellets. A wide varied diet will provide a healthy specimen for many years. They prefer to feed from the bottom hence their downturned conical snout.

Glossary of Terms

Humeral process: Bony extension of the pectoral girdle.

Adipose fin: Fleshy finlike projection without rays, behind the rayed dorsal fin.
Caudal fin: The tail.
Truncate: Cut off, blunt. (as in squared off caudal fin).


Synodontis: Ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile (Cuvier 1816)
Long snout


Poll, M., 1971. Révision des Synodontis africains (famille Mochocidae). Ann. Mus. R. Afr. Centr., Sci. Zool., 191:1-497.
Seegers, L. 2008 The catfishes of Africa. A handbook for identification and maintenance. Aqualog Verlag A.C.S. GmbH, Germany. 604 p.
Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen, 1966. Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p.

Photo Credits

© Allan James @ ScotCat
© Danny Blundell @ The Danny Blundell Photo Gallery
Line Drawings from Poll, Max
; Revision Des Synodontis Africains (Famille Mochokidae) 1971.

Factsheet 240

Synodontis ovidus
Common Name:
Long-Nosed Synodontis
Africa: Congo basin. Type locality: Rivière Yembe à Banzyville
50cm. (20ins)
21-24°C (69 -75°F)
6.2 - 7.5.
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