Distichodus nefasch (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Status: Accepted name

Common names:
General name (around Lake Albert): Wachone

Taxonomic tree
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Distichodontidae (Distichodus)
Genus: Distichodus
Species: Distichodus nefasch (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Number of Occurrancies: 7

Etymology (based on Sharpf & Lazara, 2018)

  • Distichodus: from greek distichus, meaning of two rows; odon, meaning tooth, referring to two rows of bifid teeth on both jaws

  • nefasch: manuscript name used by Forsskål, based on Egyptian vernacular for this species

Synonyms: click here to view Synonym

Type locality: Nile river, Egypy. No types known.

Distinguishing characters for the genus

  • A deep, short body (2-3.5 times longer than deep) and compressed

  • Small ctenoid scales

  • Teeth bicuspid, usually in two series

  • The lower halves of the lower jaw are broadly separated

  • Dorsal fin situated situated above pelvic insertion

  • Adipose dorsal fin small and, together with the caudal fin) scaled

  • Purplish-silver color above, silver below; young fishes with several vertical dark bars on the flank

Distinguishing characters for the species

  • Lateral line with 90-112 scales; 18-21 scales between the lateral line and origin of the dorsal fin

Taxonomic remarks: This fish has for long been treated as a valid species of characid fishes, with the name Distichodus niloticus (Hasselquist, 1762), until the work of Fricke in 2008. It is argued that the name can not be attributed to Hasselquist (1762) as it was based on rejected piece of work. Fricke (2008) further argues that neither Hasselquist’s nor Forsskål’s version can be considered as an independent new species description because both are misidentifications of the Linnaean species Salmo niloticus.  As the first available name for the species is Salmo nefasch Bonnaterre [ex Forsskål], 1788,  the obligatory name, therefore, is Distichodus nefasch (Bonnaterre [ex Forsskål], 1788). 

Distribution in Uganda: Lake Albert, Murchison Nile

Occurence: Native

Habitat: Dermersal, living and feeding at the bottom; common in shallow inshore waters, especially in the region of deltas; also in rivers; potamodrous. greater than Distichodus nefasch.

Feeding: Submerged plants, molluscs and small crustacea

Biology: No information is available on biology of this species in Ugandan waters, althouth it it known to be oviparous. 

Economic importance/End use: The species is fairly common in Lake ALbert and Murchison Nile and forms an important element in the subsistence catches for the riparian communities. 

IUCN conservation status: click to view IUCN status

Threats: Fishing, habitat degradation

Main references

  • Greenwood PH. 1966. The fishes of Uganda. The Uganda Society, Kampala. 131 pages.

  • Sharpf C, Lazara J.K. 2018. Fish Name Etymology Database v16. www.etyfish.org

  • Fricke, R., 2008. Authorship, availability and validity of fish names described by Peter (Pehr) Simon Forsskål and Johann Christian Fabricius in the 'Descriptiones animalium' by Carsten Niebuhr in 1775 (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie), Neue Serie. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde A, Neue Serie. v. 1: 1-76

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Natugonza, V. & Musinguzi, L. (editors) 2021. Freshwater Biodiversity Portal for Uganda. www.freshwaterbiodiversity.go.ug, version (01/2021).


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