Teleostei (teleosts) > Siluriformes
(Catfishes) > Bagridae
Etymology: Bagrus: Mozarabic, bagre, taken from Greek, pagros = a fish (Dentex sp.) (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 6.5 - 8.2; dH range: ? - 30; depth range 0 - 80 m (Ref. 34291), usually 0 - 70 m (Ref. 34291). Tropical; 21°C - 25°C (Ref. 2060)
Africa: widely distributed throughout Tchad, Niger, Volta, Senegal (Ref. 57125), Mono, Oueme, Cross and Sanaga Rivers, as well as the Rift Valley Lakes Edward, George, Albert, Victoria and Tanganyika (Ref. 81641), but not Lake Kivu (Ref. 46152). Widely distributed in Nile system (Ref. 28714, 31439, 58460). In the Lukuga River (Lake Tanganyika outflow), known up to the Kisimba-Kilia rapids (Ref. 93587).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 22.7, range 20 - 25.9 cm
Max length : 127 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 42492); common length : 62.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 11248); max. published weight: 35.0 kg (Ref. 4537); max. reported age: 5 years (Ref. 11248)
soft rays: 11 - 14;
Vertebrae: 46 - 49. Diagnosis: head depressed (Ref. 43434), broad, about 1.3-1.6 times as long as wide (Ref. 28714, 30488, 57125), squarish when viewed from above (Ref. 28714), without rough texture (Ref. 3034). Head width measured at base of preopercle 58.9-71.8% head length; 12-16 gill rakers on first gill arch (Ref. 81641). Body slightly elongated, 5-6 times longer than deep (Ref. 7324, 57125, 81641). Four pairs of barbels (Ref. 34290). Premaxillary tooth plate 5-7 times longer than wide, a little shorter than and about as broad as the band of vomerine teeth (Ref. 2899). Premaxillary toothplate width less than 2.5 times in head length (Ref. 57125). Occipital process 3-5 times longer than wide (Ref. 57125, 81641). Predorsal length 2.4-2.7 times in standard length; 9-10 branched dorsal fin rays, not or only slightly filamentous (Ref. 57125, 81641). Long adipose dorsal fin present (Ref. 34290), narrowly separated from the dorsal fin (Ref. 51936). Standard length/caudal peduncle length 2.4-2.7 (Ref. 57125). Upper lobe of caudal fin often with a short filament (Ref. 7324, 57125, 81641).
Inhabit lakes, swamps and rivers (Ref. 31256). Widespread in both shallow and deep water (Ref. 34291). Probably associated with rocky bottoms/coarse substrates (Ref. 27490). Mostly active during the night and the twilight hours (Ref. 2060). Juveniles may frequent exposed rocky shores (Ref. 12526). Feed on insects, crustaceans, molluscs and fish; some debris and vegetable matter may also be ingested (Ref. 28714). Moderately important as a food species in Lake Victoria, but becoming rare with the appearance of Nile perch (Ref. 4967). Catches decreased strongly in Lake Victoria after the Lates upsurge (Ref. 34291). Predation by Lates and competition with Lates (for haplochromines) may have played a role in the decline (Ref. 34291). A notably recovery in waters between 3m and 6m depth in Lake Victoria has been reported (Ref. 51900). Second most important food species in Lake Edward, Congo (Ref. 13302).
Distinct pairing (Ref. 205).
Risch, L.M., 1992. Bagridae. p. 395-431. In C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and G.G. Teugels (eds.) Faune des poissons d'eaux douces et saumâtres d'Afrique de l'Ouest. Tome 2. Coll. Faune Tropicale N° XXVIII. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgique and O.R.S.T.O.M., Paris, France. (Ref. 7324)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 126983)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes