Schilbe mystus (Linnaeus, 1758)

African butter catfish
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Schilbe mystus
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes (Catfish) > Schilbeidae (Schilbid catfishes)
Etymology: mystus: Named for Mr. Adanson, collector of the type material of this species (Ref. 43912).  More on author: Linnaeus.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Freshwater; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 4 - 69 m.   Tropical; 23°C - 27°C (Ref. 1672); 25°N - 27°S, 17°W - 45°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Africa: Nilo-Sudanese species, known from the Nile basin and in West Africa from the Senegal River eastwards to the Cross, Wouri and Sanaga River, including the Chad basin (Ref. 43912). Various reports, including from the Ogowe and Congo River basin or Zambia and Zimbabwe, are based on misidentifications (Ref. 43912). Reports from Angola and Tanzania are questionable and need confirmation.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 13.1, range 15 - ? cm
Max length : 35.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 57127); max. published weight: 250.00 g (Ref. 3799); max. reported age: 7 years (Ref. 7248)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6. Diagnosis: adipose fin present (Ref. 43912, 57127, 81643) and fully developed (Ref. (Ref. 57127, 81643). Anterior nostrils more closer to each other than to posterior ones; inner margin of pectoral-fin spine strongly denticulate posteriorly (Ref. 43912, 57127, 81643). Nasal barbel reaching to anterior eye margin (Ref. 57127, 81643), but never extending beyond posterior margin of eye (Ref. 43912, 57127, 81643). Mouth subterminal (Ref. 57127, 81643), snout reaching beyond lower jaw (Ref. 43912). 45-64 branched anal-fin rays and 8-15 gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch (Ref. 43912, 57127, 81643).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Lacustrine as well as fluviatile species, confined to lakes and moderate to large rivers (Ref. 43912). Shoals in standing or slowly flowing open water with emergent or submerged vegetation. Generally more active at night or in subdued light. Feed from mid-water and surface waters on a wide variety of foods including fish, insects, shrimps, snails, plant seeds, and fruit. Oviparous, eggs are unguarded (Ref. 205). Often important spawning migrations occur (Ref. 43912). Breed during the rainy season and may be either a single or multiple spawner in different localities, laying eggs on vegetation. May live up to 6-7 years (Ref. 7248). Max total length 45.0mm (Ref. 43912). Also caught with drawnets. In general considered as a flavoured, first class eating fish (Ref. 43912).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Distinct pairing (Ref. 205).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

De Vos, L., 1995. A systematic revision of the African Schilbeidae (Teleostei, Siluriformes). With an annotated bibliography. Ann. Mus. R. Afr. Centr., Sci. Zool., 271:1-450. (Ref. 43912)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)

  Least Concern (LC) ; Date assessed: 01 May 2009

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless





Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
FAO(Publication : search) | FishSource |

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00912 (0.00712 - 0.01169), b=2.98 (2.91 - 3.05), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.5   ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.09-0.94; tmax=6-7; assuming fec > 10,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (33 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.