Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Occurs in shallow and muddy waters, sheltered bays, in lagoons, and swampy areas. Forms shoal (Ref. 13337). Prefers quiet parts of rivers where there is abundant vegetation (Ref. 13337). Feeds mostly on insect larvae and other invertebrates at night (Ref. 5595). Shoals within quiet reaches of rivers and floodplains. Oviparous (Ref. 205). Known to undergo upriver migration which may well be correlated with breeding (Ref. 13337). Breeds during the rainy season, possibly moving upstream to suitable sites. An unconfirmed report claims the males are territorial and build a nest (Ref. 7248). Found schooling with other species with identical electric organ discharge (EOD) waveforms (Ref. 10460). Caught in nets for food (5214).
  • Kramer, B., R. Bills, P. Skelton and M. Wink 2012 A critical revision of the churchill snoutfish, genus Petrocephalus Marcusen, 1854 (Actinopterygii: Teleostei: Mormyridae), from southern and eastern Africa, with the recognition of Petrocephalus tanensis, and the description of five new species. Journal of Natural History 46(35-36):2179-2258. (Ref. 91771)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=91771&speccode=11004 External link.
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General Description

Modified from Günther (1866):

Dorsal fin rays: 21. Anal fin rays: 26. Scales along the lateral line: 41.

The form of the snout is nearly the same as in Mormyrus (i.e., Pollimyrus) isidori, the cleft of the mouth being at the lower side of the snout, behind the front margin of the orbit. Teeth small, dilated and notched, forming a complete series round the margin of both jaws. The origin of the dorsal fin is a little nearer to the root of the caudal than to the occiput. The pectoral extends somewhat beyond the middle of the ventral, which is rather more than half as long as the pectoral. The height of the body is contained thrice in the total length, the length of the head thrice and two-thirds. Uniform silvery, back blackish.

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Distribution

East Africa: Rovuma River system including Niassa Reserve, and western confluences to Lake Malawi (Ref. 91771).
  • Kramer, B., R. Bills, P. Skelton and M. Wink 2012 A critical revision of the churchill snoutfish, genus Petrocephalus Marcusen, 1854 (Actinopterygii: Teleostei: Mormyridae), from southern and eastern Africa, with the recognition of Petrocephalus tanensis, and the description of five new species. Journal of Natural History 46(35-36):2179-2258. (Ref. 91771)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=91771&speccode=11004 External link.
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Type from the Rovuma River (Tanzania).

Widely distributed in East Africa. See Fishbase for museum records and localities.

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Central and southern Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 18 - 22; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 25 - 28
  • Kramer, B., R. Bills, P. Skelton and M. Wink 2012 A critical revision of the churchill snoutfish, genus Petrocephalus Marcusen, 1854 (Actinopterygii: Teleostei: Mormyridae), from southern and eastern Africa, with the recognition of Petrocephalus tanensis, and the description of five new species. Journal of Natural History 46(35-36):2179-2258. (Ref. 91771)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=91771&speccode=11004 External link.
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Size

Maximum size: 150 mm FL
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Max. size

15.0 cm FL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5214))
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Diagnostic Description

Description: Body oval shape (Ref. 91771). Head broadly rounded with a small ventrally positioned subterminal mouth, situated ventral to the eye; head and body dorsolaterally compressed (Ref. 91771). Dorsal fin origin situated about two-thirds of standard length from snout, obliquely orientated, anteriorly higher and posteriorly lower, its distal margin crescentic with anterior two or three rays longer than posterior rays; 18-22 dorsal fin rays (Ref. 91771). Anal fin longer than dorsal fin, opposite dorsal fin with slightly more anterior origin, obliquely orientated, anteriorly lower and posteriorly higher, its anterior 10 or so rays longer than posterior ones, especially in males where they also appear stronger, its margin broadly rounded and rays posterior to first 10 with distal margin straight; 25-28 anal fin rays (Ref. 91771). Scales cycloid with reticulate striae, scales extending anteriorly to operculum and pectoral fins; scales on caudal peduncle circumference (Ref. 91771). Caudal peduncle slender, subcylindrical entire length, usually 19.5-23.9% of standard length.Colour: Grey-silver, underside lighter, paired fins light and transparent, goldbrownish hue on back and tail section (Ref. 91771). In preservation it is light brown, back darker, underside fair (Ref. 91771).
  • Kramer, B., R. Bills, P. Skelton and M. Wink 2012 A critical revision of the churchill snoutfish, genus Petrocephalus Marcusen, 1854 (Actinopterygii: Teleostei: Mormyridae), from southern and eastern Africa, with the recognition of Petrocephalus tanensis, and the description of five new species. Journal of Natural History 46(35-36):2179-2258. (Ref. 91771)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=91771&speccode=11004 External link.
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater
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Migration

Potamodromous. Migrating within streams, migratory in rivers, e.g. Saliminus, Moxostoma, Labeo. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Occurs in shallow and muddy waters, sheltered bays, in lagoons, and swampy areas. Forms shoal. Frequency of occurence in Caprivi: occasionally in sandy streams, occasionally on rocky streams, common in shallow swamps, and common in shallow flood plains (Ref. 037065). Prefers quiet parts of rivers where there is abundant vegetation. Feeds mostly on insect larvae and other invertebrates at night. Shoals within quiet reaches of rivers and floodplains. Known to undergo upriver migration which may well be correlated with breeding. Breeds during the rainy season, possibly moving upstream to suitable sites. An unconfirmed report claims the males are territorial and build a nest (Ref. 7248). Found schooling with other species with identical electric organ discharge (EOD) waveforms (Ref. 10460).
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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Phylogenetic Relationships

Distinct phylogenetic lineage within the Petrocephalus of still unresolved position.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Petrocephalus catostoma

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: subsistence fisheries; aquarium: commercial
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