Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Synbranchiformes
(Spiny eels) > Mastacembelidae
Etymology: Mastacembelus: Greek, mastax, -agos = bite + Greek, emballo = to throw oneself (Ref. 45335). More on author: Sauvage.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; demersal; depth range - m (Ref. ), usually - m (Ref. ). Tropical; 0°C -
Africa: Mbonge River basin in Cameroon to the Shiloango River basin in Democratic Republic of the Congo (Ref. 81678). Also present in the Congo River basin (Ref. 81678) from the Kinsuka rapids and Pool Malebo (Ref. 41585) up to the Wagenia Falls (Ref. 106245). Reports of Mastacembelus flavomarginatus from the rivers Konkouré (Ref. 3009) and Sassandra (Ref. 3057) are misidentifications of respectively Mastacembelus kakrimensis (Ref. 55095) and Mastacembelus praensis (Ref. 57415).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 37.5 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 81678)
Morphology | Morphometrics
Vertebrae: 89 - 98. Diagnosis: distance from tip of snout to last externally visible dorsal spine 49.5-67.6% SL (mean 60.5%), decreasing with size; postanal length 38.5-53.4% SL (mean 44.7%), increasing with size; distance from tip of snout to last externally visible anal spine 49.2-67.0% SL (mean 59.1%), decreasing with size; distance from posterior edge of pectoral fin to anterior origin of first dorsal spine, 19.4-86.4% HL (mean 52.4%); gill opening small, its distance to dorsal pectoral fin base relatively long, 8.3-14.9% HL (mean 11.5%); 24+1 up to 33+1 (median 30+1) dorsal spines; origin of soft dorsal fin slightly anterior or posterior to origin of soft anal fin (Ref. 81678).
Occurs in shallow waters (Ref. 6060). Maximum reported total length 387 mm (Ref. 81678).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Travers, R.A., G. Eynikel and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde, 1986. Mastacembelidae. p. 415-427. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 2. (Ref. 6060)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass 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=0.00269 (0.00123 - 0.00588), b=2.96 (2.78 - 3.14), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.9 ±0.6 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (40 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 488 [201, 1,069] mg/100g ; Iron = 2.38 [1.14, 4.72] mg/100g ; Protein = 17.2 [15.6, 18.9] % ; Omega3 = 0.234 [0.108, 0.508] g/100g ; Selenium = 23.4 [7.6, 78.1] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 28.9 [11.0, 71.3] μg/100g ; Zinc = 1.43 [0.74, 3.12] mg/100g (wet weight);