Schilbe mandibularis (Günther, 1867)
photo by RMCA

Family:  Schilbeidae (Schilbid catfishes)
Max. size:  50 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  demersal; freshwater; brackish, potamodromous
Distribution:  Africa: St. Paul River in Liberia up to the Pra in Ghana, including the rivers St. John, Farmington, Cess/Nipoué, Cavally, San Pedro, Sassandra, Boubo, Bandama, Agnébi, Comoé and Tano Rivers (Ref. 57127). Reports from the Ouémé River in Benin and the Volta basin need confirmation; reports from the Congo basin and Wouri River (Cameroon) are based on misidentified specimens of other species (Ref. 43912).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 1. Diagnosis: large species, up to 300 mm SL or more (Ref. 57127). Anterior nostrils never closer to each other than the posterior ones; inner margin of pectoral-fin spine finely denticulate; 39-70 branched anal-fin rays; 8-15 gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch; adipose fin always present (Ref. 43912, 57127). Lower jaw reaching as far as or a little shorter than upper jaw; brownish longitudinal stripes along sides and anal fin (Ref. 43912). Description: 40-50 non-fused vertebrae; 8-10 branchiostegal rays on one side of head; clinal variation: important progressive reduction of number of anal fin rays and number of vertebrae and gill rakers in populations from east to west; caudal peduncle in general somewhat deeper than long but sometimes as long as deep or slightly longer than deep; nasal barbel reaches at least to midway between eye and opercle and at maximum a little further than posterior border of opercle; maxillary barbel reaches at least slightly beyond anterior border of opercle and at maximum to midway along pectoral spine; inner mandibular barbel short and never reaches beyond posterior border of eye; outer mandibular barbel reaches at least to anterior border of opercle and at maximum somewhat further than posterior border of opercle; sexual dimorphism in development of barbels: female having slightly shorter barbels than males (Ref. 43912). Schilbe mandibularis resembles S. intermedius, especially concerning the colour pattern; however in the latter species the upper jaw reaches slightly beyond the snout while it never reaches beyond the snout in S. mandibularis; moreover, in West African hydrographic systems S. intermedius generally lacks an adipose fin which is always present in S. mandibularis (Ref. 43912). Coloration: head and back dark brown; brownish or greyish lateral bands above and below lateral line, above and along anal-fin base, and along anal-fin margin; dorsal fin, pectorals and pelvics yellowish, the first two often mottled (Ref. 43912, 57127). In life: sides silvery with traces of lateral stripes; belly white; back and head grey-brown; fins coloured deep red at base, but this probably due to capture conditions when the fish has been hanging in the gill net for a long time (Ref. 43912).
Biology:  Found in riverine and lacustrine conditions; prefers freshwater but has also been recorded from brackish water lagoons in mixohaline water; voracious and carnivorous (Ref. 43912). Feed mainly on (terrestrial) insects (Ref. 6868, 43912) and fish, but also fruits, amphibians, small rodents and Arachnida have been found in stomachs (Ref. 43912). Oviparous, eggs are unguarded (Ref. 205).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 30 April 2006 Ref. (123251)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 06.03.91
Modified by: Musschoot, Tobias - 22.01.19
Checked by: Sa-a, Pascualita - 22.08.94

Source and more info: For personal, classroom, and other internal use only. Not for publication.

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