Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Osteoglossiformes
(Bony tongues) > Mormyridae
Etymology: Mormyrops: Greek, mormyros = a fish (Sparus sp) + Greek, ops = appearance (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243). Tropical; 22°C - 24°C (Ref. 12468); 10°S - 21°S
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 32.5  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 150 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2915); max. published weight: 15.0 kg (Ref. 52193)
soft rays: 38 - 51. Diagnosis: head depressed, mouth large and terminal; body elongated (Ref. 13337, 52193). Chin (mental swelling) absent; origin of dorsal fin behind origin of anal fin, nearer caudal fin base than tip of snout; dorsal fin shorter than anal fin; mouth width subequal to snout length: snout long (Ref. 52193). SL/Body depth 4.9-7.5; head 3.4-5.1 times in standard length; snout almost as wide as head; interorbital space wide, head length/interorbital space 2.9-6.8; variation in meristic characteristics due to differences in geographic clines (Ref. 2915).
Africa: White Nile, Lake Albert basin, inland waters from Senegal to Chad, rivers in Cameroon, small coastal basins in the Guinean zone. Widespread in the Congo basin, Lake Malawi, Tanganyika and Mobuto (Ref. 52193). Volta basin, Whebi Shebeli and Juba (as Mormyrops deliciosus). In southern Africa, it is restricted to the middle and lower Zambezi, Buzi, and Pungwe River (Ref. 52307).
Juveniles occur in marginal habitats, adults prefer deep quiet water between boulders and below overhangs, away from strong currents; also occurs beneath Salvinia mats and in river estuaries in Lake Kariba; juveniles prey on invertebrates, mainly shrimps and insect larvae; larger individuals feed on small cichlids, minnows and labeos; may live for 8 years or more; breeds in summer during the rainy season; mature females carry 25000 or more eggs (Ref. 7248, 52193). A fractional spawner (Ref. 10606, 10605). Affinities: M. breviceps.
Bigorne, R., 1990. Mormyridae. p. 122-184. In C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and G.G. Teugels (eds.) Faune des poissons d'eaux saumâtres d'Afrique de l'Ouest. tome 1. Faune Trop. 28. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, and ORSTOM, Paris.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00851 (0.00359 - 0.02015), b=3.03 (2.81 - 3.25), based on LWR estimates for species & Subfamily-BS (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.6 ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.08-0.12; tm > 8).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (69 of 100) .