Hydrocynus vittatus Castelnau, 1861
Tiger fish
Hydrocynus vittatus
photo by de Vos, L.

Family:  Alestidae (African tetras)
Max. size:  105 cm FL (male/unsexed); 74 cm FL (female); max.weight: 28 kg; max. reported age: 8 years
Environment:  demersal, potamodromous
Distribution:  West-Africa: Niger, Bénoué, Ouémé, Senegal (Ref. 2880, 5331, 7248, 81279), Ouémé (unconfirmed, Ref. 81279), Chad (Ref. 2880, 5331, 81279). Also found in the Volta (Ref. 5331, 81279) and Mono rivers (Ref. 81279). Lower Guinea: Cross and Sanaga basins (Ref. 80290). Widespread throughout the Congo River basin (Ref. 4910, 41585, 41594, 42510, 45616, 52070, 89725, 106290). Also reported from Nile, Omo, Zambezi, Limpopo, Rovuma, Shire, Rufiji, Ruaha, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Rukwa (Ref. 2880, 80290), Lake Albert (Ref. 4903) and Lake Kariba (Ref. 27602), Malagarazi, Okavango and lower reaches of coastal systems south to the Pongolo (Ref. 7248).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-10; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 15-15. Diagnosis: 2 scale rows between lateral line and scaly process at pelvic-fin bases; eye < 70% of interorbital space (Ref. 2880, 81279). Dorsal-fin origin at about same level as pelvic-fin insertions; tips of adipose and dorsal fins black; forked edge of caudal fin black (Ref. 2880, 80290, 81279). Description: gill rakers few (5-9/9-12), but rather long; rakers of first gill arch normally developed; body profile less elongate than H. forskalii (Ref. 2880, 80290, 81279). Dorsal fin with 2 unbranched and 8 branched rays; anal fin with 3 unbranched and 12 branched rays; 14 scales around caudal peduncle (Ref. 11970). Coloration: ground color similar to that of H. forskalii, but in H. vittatus tips of dorsal and adipose fin black and fork of caudal fin black-edged; dark coloration may also extend unto median caudal rays, forming crescent-shaped blotch (Ref. 80290, 81279).
Biology:  Prefers warm, well-oxygenated water, mainly larger rivers and lakes; all but the largest form roving schools of like-sized fish; aptly described as fierce and voracious; feeds on whatever prey is most abundant but Brycinus, Micralestes, Barbus, and Limnothrissa are favored (Ref. 7248). Useful food fish in some areas (Ref. 4967).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 01 May 2009 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:  Present in the Mono River (Ref. 81279).

Entered by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 21.06.91
Modified by: Geelhand, Dimitri - 26.06.13
Checked by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 12.08.94

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