Joseph Heymans (1) Rob Palmer
The spines are said to be poisonous
on this species. Description: This
species has a deep body, a large adipose fin and a
forked caudal. The barbels are long and slender and
the mandibulars have branches. The humeral process
is triangular and pointed. Habitat:
Occurs in pools and slow flowing reaches of perennial
and seasonal rivers. Favours riverine habitats to
floodplains. Shelters in holes or crevices or on the
underside of logs, frequently in an upside-down position.
Colouration: Plain olive brown or
grey with small spots either present or absent. The
spotted specimens are more common in populations from
the Limpopo, Incomati and Phongolo rivers. Juveniles
with albino patches on the body are often found. Reproduction:
Oviparous, breeds in summer in the rainy periods.
Aquarium Care: Reported to be aggressive
towards conspecifics so would need hiding places to
dilute this trait if kept with other Synodontis
species in a large tank. Diet: Active
at night, feeds on detritus and plant matter such
as seeds as well as small invertebrates like insects
and snails. Will scavenge readily. The usual aquarium
foods for this genus. Remarks:
There is ongoing discussions on whether S. zambezensis
are one and the same species, as the colour of the
spotted and unspotted patterns seem to overlap on
each species, so until we have more investigations
into this complex such as DNA studies we will have
a better idea.
Pongolo, Limpopo, Pungwe and Zambezi basins; Rukwa
Lake; Luangwe River. Absent from upper Save-Runde
system. Type locality: riv. Zambèze,
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.
2009. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication.
www.fishbase.org, version (10/2010). 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.