Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; demersal; pH range: 6.5 - 8.0; dH range: 10 - 25; potamodromous (Ref. 51243). Tropical; 23°C - 28°C (Ref. 13614); 18°N - 2°N, 16°W - 36°E
Africa: basins of the rivers Senegal, Gambia, Volta, Niger and Chad in West Africa (Ref. 3530, 81275), also in Nile River basin (Ref. 3530, 28714) and Lake Turkana (Ref. 3530, 52331).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 167 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2915); max. published weight: 18.5 kg (Ref. 2915)
Morphology | Morphometrics
(total): 183-230. Body depth 7.2-10.3 x SL. Head 5.6-6.9 x SL. Snout prominent. Pectorals 1.9-5.0 x head length. Body terminates in thin point. Head without scales. Scales small.
Obligate air-breathing (Ref. 126274); Following flooding of the river banks (Gambia River), this species builds large elliptical floating nests in densely vegetated swamps at depths of about 1-1.5 m; lays about 1000 `amber-like' eggs; larvae hatching after 5 days (Ref. 10609). Feeds on crustaceans, insects and fish (Ref. 28714). No pelvic, anal or caudal fins. Possesses an electric organ that extends along almost the entire trunk to the tip of the tail (Ref. 10840). Also equipped with ampullary receptors and two types of tuberous receptors for electroreception (Ref. 10841). Showed increased electric organ discharge (EOD) rate by 50-60 Hz between 21 and 31°C (Ref. 10837). An air-breathing species (Ref. 118411).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
It breeds in well-vegetated, marginal areas of swamps and rivers, where a large, floating nest, about 1 m in diameter is constructed. Here the eggs are laid and later guarded by one of the parents (Ref. 27583). Distinct pairing (Ref. 205).
Bigorne, R., 1990. Gymnarchidae. p. 185-186. In C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and G.G. Teugels (eds.) Faune des poissons d'eaux et saumâtres d'Afrique de l'Ouest. tome 1. Faune Trop. 28. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgique and ORSTOM, Paris. (Ref. 2911)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 125652)
Threat to humans
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804
= 1.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00380 (0.00147 - 0.00981), b=3.10 (2.87 - 3.33), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.7 ±0.58 se; based on food items.
Generation time: 6.5 ( na - na) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 1 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.12-0.17).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (63 of 100).
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 89.3 [45.0, 207.2] mg/100g ; Iron = 0.852 [0.546, 1.502] mg/100g ; Protein = 17.3 [15.6, 19.1] % ; Omega3 = 0.202 [0.095, 0.439] g/100g ; Selenium = 101 [45, 267] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 15.7 [5.8, 40.9] μg/100g ; Zinc = 1.12 [0.79, 1.71] mg/100g (wet weight);