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Common names:
Victoria snake catfish
Local: Unavailable

Taxonomic tree
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fish)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Family: Clariidae (Airbreathing catfishes)
Genus: Clariallabes
Species: Clariallabes petricola (Greenwood, 1956)
Number of Occurrancies: 0

Etymology (based on Sharpf & Lazara, 2019) 

  • Clariallabes: combination of Clarias and Gymnallabes, described as intermediate in form between these two genera

  • petricola:  petra, meaning rock; –cola, living among, referring to presumed habitat consisting of large stones and coarse pebbles, and coarse shingles overlying sandy clay 

Synonyms: click here to view synonyms

Type locality: Nile River, about 1/2 miles below the Owen-falls dam, Jinja, Uganda. Holotype at British Museum of Natural History (BMNH)

Distinguishing characters for the genus: Superficially, Clariallabeslooks like Clarias. In Clariallabes, however:

  • The bony sides of the skull are greatly reduced

  • The dorsal, anal and caudal fins are confluent

  • Adults are very small rarely exceeding 8 mm standard length. 

Distinguishing characters for the species (only 1 species occurs in Uganda)

  • Soft lateral aspects of the head

  • confluent dorsal, anal and caudal fins

  • very small eyes

  • color is dark brown, almost black, shading to light brown below

Distribution in Uganda: Lake Victoria and Victoria Nile, and possibly Kyoga. 

Occurence: Native

Habitat: Demersal; prefer rocky or stony substrates, where they hide among the rocks possibly inhabiting vegetated areas and swamps.  

Feeding: Mainly insectivorous, but can also feed on plants and zooplankton

Biology: The species hardly exceeds 8 cm SL; females are mature at 4 cm. Nothing is known about breeding and other life history aspects of this species

Economic importance/End use: Unknown

IUCN conservation status: click here to view IUCN status

Threats: Unknown; possibly predation by piscivorous fishes in the lake (because of its small size)

Main references

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

  • Sharpf C, Lazara J.K. 2019. Fish Name Etymology Database v12.


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


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