Classification / Names
Common names from other countries
Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 200 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 34290); common length : 130 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 34290); max. published weight: 17.0 kg (Ref. 13302)
Length at first maturity
Lm ?, range 70 - 76 cm
Freshwater; demersal; depth range 0 - 60 m (Ref. 34291), usually 0 - 20 m (Ref. 34291)
Climate / Range
Tropical; 25°C - 30°C (Ref. 2059)
Africa: Nile; Lakes Albert, Edward, Victoria, Nabugabo, Tanganyika, Kyoga and No. Three subspecies exist: Protopterus aethiopicus aethiopicus: Nile River, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika; Protopterus aethiopicus congicus: middle and upper Congo River; and Protopterus aethiopicus mesmaekersi: lower Congo River.
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions
Smooth, slimy, cylindrical body with deeply embedded scales (Ref. 28714). Tail pointed and confluent with the long dorsal and anal fins; dorsal fin originating at an equal distance from the eye and the vent, or nearer to the latter; pectoral and pelvic fins slender and filamentous (Ref. 34290). 55-70 scales in a longitudinal series from immediately behind the head to above the vent; 40-50 scales around body (Ref. 4903, Ref. 45485). Ribs: 37-40 pairs (Ref. 4903). The dentition consisting of upper and lower tooth-plates in the form of sharp cutting ridges (Ref. 34290). Young fishes with true external gills, but usually absent in specimens greater than 15 cm TL (Ref. 34290).
Dark slate-grey above, yellowish-grey or pinkish below; often with numerous dark spots or flecks on the fins and body (some specimens bright yellow ventrally); sensory canals on head and body are outlined in black (Ref. 34290).
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index
PD50 = 0.6602 many relatives (e.g. carps) 0.5 - 2.0 few relatives (e.g. lungfishes)
4.4 ±0.2 se; Based on diet studies.
Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Assuming tmax > 30; Fec = 468)
High to very high vulnerability (71 of 100)