Ecology of Protopterus aethiopicus
Main Ref. Bailey, R.G., 1994
Remarks Inhabits rivers and lake fringes, swamps and floodplains (Ref. 28714). Adults and sub-adults occur in open water but they prefer shallow inshore regions, especially the vicinity of swamps (Ref. 34291). Generally becomes more active during the last hours of the day, its activity increases at dusk and probably continues during the night. During the day, this fish regularly leaves its site to approach the surface in order to breathe. It breaks the surface with its large mouth, filling its lungs with air, then allows itself to sink down. Food search involves mud-digging on open bottoms and taking up mouthfuls of dirt and algae which are then spat out (Ref. 42701).

Aquatic zones / Water bodies

Marine - Neritic Marine - Oceanic Brackishwater Freshwater
Marine zones / Brackish and freshwater bodies
  • supra-littoral zone
  • littoral zone
  • sublittoral zone
  • epipelagic
  • mesopelagic
  • epipelagic
  • abyssopelagic
  • hadopelagic
  • estuaries/lagoons/brackish seas
  • mangroves
  • marshes/swamps
  • rivers/streams
  • lakes/ponds
  • caves
  • exclusively in caves
Highighted items on the list are where Protopterus aethiopicus may be found.


Substrate Ref.
Special habitats Beds: algae/seaweed;
Special habitats Ref.


Associated with
Association remarks


Feeding type mainly animals (troph. 2.8 and up)
Feeding type Ref. Witte, F. and W. de Winter, 1995
Feeding habit hunting macrofauna (predator)
Feeding habit Ref.
Trophic Level(s)
Estimation method Original sample Unfished population Remark
Troph s.e. Troph s.e.
From diet composition 4.40 0.19 4.45 0.20 Troph of adults.
From individual food items 3.43 0.69 Trophic level estimated from a number of food items using a randomized resampling routine.
Ref. Omondi, R., A.W. Yasindi and A.M. Magana, 2013
(e.g. 346)
(e.g. cnidaria)
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