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Common names:
Marbled mountain catfish

Taxonomic tree
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish)
Order: Siluriformes (catfishes)
Family: Amphiliidae (Loach catfishes)
Genus: Amphilius
Species: Amphilius jacksonii (Boulenger, 1912)
Number of Occurrancies: 86

Etymology (based on Sharpf & Lazara, 2019)

Amphilius: amphi-, meaning around or on both sides, and leios, meaning smooth, referring to naked, soft-skinned (e.g., scaleless) body and absence of fin spines, therefore “smooth around the body”. 

jacksonii: in honor of F. J. Jackson, Deputy Commissioner and Consul for the Uganda Protectorate, who collected type

Synonyms: click here to view synonyms

Type locality: Hima river, Eastern foothills of Rwenzori mountains, flowing into Lake George, Uganda. Holotype at British Museum of Natural History (BMNH)

General notes on identification of Loach catfishes

The Amphiliidae are a family of scaleless fishes, whose head and anterior part of the body is somewhat flattened. Dorsal and anal fins are short, the former having no spine (which easily separates its from the close family Bagridae). The adipose dorsal fin is short; the outer ray of pelvic fin is thickened but not bony. Three pairs of unbranched circum-oral barbels (the nasal barbels are absent). 

Distinguishing characters for the genus

  • A single genus, Amphilius, occurs in Uganda; the distinguishing characters for the family suffice to identify the genus

Distinguishing characters for species

  • Body elongate, flattened ventrally from head to anal fin origin; head and snout depressed; tip of snout rounded, dorsal profile of the head sloping straight to supraoccipital, profile of supraoccipital slightly convex to dorsal fin origin.

  • Greatest body depth at the dorsal fin origin.

  • Snout margin broadly parabolic in dorsal view; mouth small and inferior. 

  • Dorsal fin with 7 unbranched soft rays; pectoral fin with 8-10 soft rays; and anal fin rays 7-10.

  • Caudal fin moderately forked, tips of lobes slightly rounded. 

  • Adipose fin originating anteriorly to anal fin origin, low-crowned, without posterior free flap and inserting on the dorsum of the caudal peduncle well in advance of caudal fin base.

  • Colour is marbled and blotched yellowish-brown above, lighter and uniform below; fins yellowish; caudal spotted; dorsal and anal fins with a dark base and uninterrupted black line near the tip.

Distribution in Uganda: Lake George drainage: rivers Dura, Ruimi, and Mubuku and lower reaches of Mahona river. Also in Aduka and Agoye rivers 

Occurence: Native

Habitat: A. jacksonii is a rheophilic species, inhabiting well oxygenated streams with moderate to fast flowing current 

Feeding: Insectivore (benthic aquatic insects mainly the Trichoptera, Ephemeroptera and Diptera groups)

Biology: The species grows to a small adult size, reaching a maximum of 12 cm. No information on breeding and other life history aspects of the species

Economic importance/End use: Unknown, possibly subsistence catches used for homestead consumption

IUCN conservation status: click here to view conservation status

Threats: Unknown

Main references

  • Walsh J.S., Chapman L.J., Rosenberger, A.E., Chapman C.A. 2000. Redescription of Amphilius jacksonii (Siluriformes: Amphiliidae), with habitat and life history notes  

  • Sharpf C, Lazara J.K. 2019. Fish Name Etymology Database v26.

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


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