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Scientific Name Synodontis zambezensis  Peters, 1852
Common Names Brown Squeaker
Bruin Skreeubaber (South African)
Type Locality Zambezi River, Mozambique.
Synonym(s) Hemisynodontis zambezensis
Pronunciation sin oh don tiss - zam BEE zen siss
Etymology According to Cuvier, Synodontis is an "ancient name for an undetermined fish from the Nile". It is apparently not derived, as often reported, from syn-, together and odous, tooth, presumed etymology of the lizardfish genus Synodus and in reference to the closely-spaced lower jaw teeth of both genera. -ensis denoted a place, river etc., after the River Zambezi.
Hop to next section Species Information
Size 430mm or 16.9" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification All species in the genus Synodontis have a hardened head cap that has attached a process (humeral process) which is situated behind the gill opening and pointed towards the posterior. The dorsal fin and pectoral fins have a hardened first ray which is serrated. Caudal fin is always forked. There is one pair of maxillary barbels, sometimes having membranes and occasionally branched. The two pairs of mandibular barbels are often branched and can have nodes attached. The cone-shaped teeth in the upper jaw are short. S-shaped and movable in the lower jaw. These fish produce audible sounds when disturbed rubbing the base of the pectoral spine against the pectoral girdle.

D I, 7; A iv-vi, 7-10. Body deep, adipose fin large, caudal forkerd, barbels long and slender, mandibular branches filamentous. Plain olive brown or gray. Small spots present or absent. Spotted specimens are more common in populations from the Limpopo, Incomati, and Pholongo. Juveniles with albino patches on body often found.
Sexing First lay the fish in your hand with its head toward your palm and the tail toward your fingers. Hold the dorsal spine between your middle and ring finger so the fish is belly up and you won't get punctured by the sharp fin spines (which hurts - be careful). The genital pore is in a small furrow of tissue (in healthy fish) and will be obstructed by the pelvic fins. Pull down on the tail gently to arch the fishes spine and the pelvic fins will stand and the furrow open to display the genital pore and the anus of the fish. The male has a somewhat ridged genital papillae on which the spermatoduct is on the back side, facing the tail fin. A gravid female will also show an extended papillae but the oviduct is on the ventral side of the papillae. It may also show a little redness if really gravid. A thin or emaciated female will have just two pink pores, the oviduct and the anus.
General Remarks South African angling record .29 kg, Zimbabwe .82 kg, Malawi .57 kg.
Hop to next section Habitat Information
Distribution Africa: Pongolo, Limpopo, Pungwe and Zambezi basins; Rukwa Lake; Luangwe River. Absent from upper Save-Runde system.
African Waters, Pungwe (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Limpopo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Southern Rift Lakes, Rukwa (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Maputo, Pongolo (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Zambesi (click on these areas to find other species found there)
African Waters, Zambesi, Luangwa (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Least Concern, range map and more is available on the IUCN species page. Last assessed 2017.
pH 6.5 - 7.8
Temperature 18.5-25.0°C or 65.3-77°F (Show species within this range)
Other Parameters Found in pools and slow-flowing reaches of perennial and seasonal rivers. Prefers riverine habitats to floodplains. Shelters in holes or crevices or on the underside of logs, frequently in an upside-down position.
Hop to next section Husbandry Information
Feeding Active at night, a bottom feeder on detritus and plant matter such as seeds as well as small invertebrates like insects and snails. User data.
Suggested Tankmates Medium-sized cyprinids and cichlids with similar requirements.
Breeding Unreported. In the wild, spawns in the summer during rainy periods.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Hop to next section Further Information
Reference Bericht ├╝ber die zur Bekanntmachung geeigneten Verhandlungen der K├Âniglichen Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1852, pp 682.
Registered Keepers There is no registered keeper.
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There are 3 records of this fish being seen, view them all.
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Last Update 2022 Aug 14 06:18 (species record created: 2005 Jul 19 00:00)