Morphology Data of Schilbe mystus
Identification keys
Main Ref. De Vos, L., 2003
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors
Remarks Male papilla short relative to anal fin length and may be confused with female papilla which, however, is frequently concealed in the ano-genital groove; in juveniles of less than 150 mm total length, correlation between genital papilla and sex was poor (50 %), but the overall correlation for 198 specimens was 80% (Ref. 43912).

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features none
Body shape lateral fusiform / normal
Cross section compressed
Dorsal head profile more or less straight
Type of eyes more or less normal
Type of mouth/snout more or less normal
Position of mouth
Type of scales

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).

Description: 10 branchiostegal rays on one side of head; caudal peduncle longer than deep. nasal and inner mandibular barbel never reach beyond posterior border of eye; maxillary barbel at least reaches to anterior border of eye and at maximum to just beyond posterior border of opercle; outer mandibular barbel at maximum reaches to just beyond anterior border of opercle; posterior border of dorsal spine feebly serrated (Ref. 43912). Schilbe mystus is, in many respects, strikingly similar to S. grenfelli, and also seems closely related to S. banguelensis and S. nyongensis, both species with the anterior nostrils closer to each other than the posterior ones and with a rather small inferior mouth; S. grenfelli and S. mystus are allopatric species, the inner side of the pectoral spine being finely serrated in the former while coarsely serrated in the latter; in S. banguelensis the nasal barbel always reaches beyond the orbit and the inner side of the pectoral spine is feebly serrated; in S. nyongensis the nasals barbel always reaches beyond the orbit while it never reaches beyond the eye in S. mystus (Ref. 43912).

Coloration: ground colour generally silvery-white; head and back brownish, fins usually colourless (Ref. 57127) or pale yellow (Ref. 81643), sometimes tinged with black (Ref. 43912). Flanks and belly usually whitish, silver (Ref. 81643).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Schilbe mystus

Lateral Lines 1 Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Barbels 8
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb 8 - 15
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes no striking attributes
Fins number 1notched No
Finlets No. Dorsal   0 - 0
Ventral  0 - 0
Spines total 1
Soft-rays total 6 - 6
Adipose fin present

Caudal fin

Attributes forked; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total
Soft-rays total

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Spines     1
Soft-rays   8 - 11
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    abdominal  behind origin of D1
Soft-rays   6
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
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