Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Synbranchiformes
(Spiny eels) > Mastacembelidae
Etymology: Mastacembelus: Greek, mastax, -agos = bite + Greek, emballo = to throw oneself (Ref. 45335). More on authors: Roberts & Travers.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; benthopelagic. Tropical
Africa: endemic to the Cross River basin in Cameroon (Ref. 7394, 57415, 81678). Report from the Nigerian part of the Cross River basin (Ref. 31256) questionable and needs confirmation.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 25.9 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 57415)
Morphology | Morphometrics
(total): 15 - 19;
soft rays: 81 - 98;
Vertebrae: 85 - 92. Diagnosis: 14+1 to 18+1 (median 16+1) dorsal spines; distance from anterior border of snout to last externally visible dorsal spine relatively short, 37.1-44.2% SL (m=40.9), decreasing with size; as a result origin of soft dorsal fin far anterior to origin of soft anal fin (Ref. 57415, 81678).
All type specimens were caught in the region of the rapids characterized by a swift current of crystal clear water flowing over a predominantly rock, stone or gravel substrate with small areas of coarse yellow sand; however, this species is also found in a wide variety of habitats such as turbid, sandy lagoons with a sluggish flow of water, heavily shaded, rocky or pebbly, clear swift streams, and exposed, pot-holed bedrock pools (Ref. 81678). Maximum reported TL was 271mm (Ref. 57415, 81678).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Vreven, E.J., 2003. Mastacembelidae. p. 708-737 In C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and G.G. Teugels (eds.) Faune des poissons d'eaux douce et saumâtres de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, Tome 2. Coll. Faune et Flore tropicales 40. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgique, Museum National d'Histoire Naturalle, Paris, France and Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris, France. 815 p. (Ref. 57415)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 118484)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00295 (0.00138 - 0.00633), b=2.92 (2.73 - 3.11), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.6 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (30 of 100) .