Malapterurus electricus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Malapteruridae
Genus: Malapterurus

See text.

  • Anacanthus Minding 1832
  • Malopterurus Agassiz, 1846

Malapterurus is a genus of catfishes (order Siluriformes) of the electric catfish family (Malapteruridae). It includes sixteen species.[1][2]



The genus Malapterurus is found throughout western and central tropical Africa and the Nile River. They occur in all major freshwater systems including the Buzi, Niger, Ogooué, Omo, Sanaga, Sabi-Lundi, Senegal, Shari, Congo, and Zambezi River basins, as well as Lakes Albert, Chad, Kainji, Tanganyika, and Turkana.[3]


Malapterurus have an elongate and cylindrical body that gives them the general appearance of a sausage.[3] The eyes are small, the lips are rather thick, and the snout is rounded with widely separated nostrils. The gill openings are narrow and restricted to the sides. Malapterurus species have three pairs of barbels, and lack a dorsal fin. The pectoral, pelvic, and caudal fins are rounded.[3] The swimbladder has two elongate posterior chambers.[1]

Species in Malapterurus are generally grayish-brown on the back and sides, fading to an off white or cream color on the ventral surfaces of the head and body. There are irregular black spots or blotches randomly distributed on the sides of the body. The posterior half of the caudal peduncle usually has a dark brown or black vertical bar and a cream vertical bar immediately before it. The edges of the anal and caudal fins have a cream margin, and the base of the caudal fin has a cream region and a dark brown crescent-shaped band immediately after it.[3]

The electrogenic organ is derived from anterior body musculature and lines the body cavity.[1] A fish that is 50 centimetres (19 in) in length can discharge up to 350 V.[1]

It is one of the few electic species that have been conditioned by means of reward to discharge on signal. As reported in the New York Times, April 2, 1967, a researcher, Dr. Frank J. Mandriota of City College, NY, conditioned a M. Electricus to discharge on a light signal for a reward of live worms delivered automatically. This is a first in Conditioning that modified neither glandular nor muscular responses.

M. electricus can grow as large as 122 centimetres (48 in) TL and 20 kilograms (44 lb).[3]


Malapterurus species are generally found among rocks or roots in turbid or black waters with low visibility. They favor sluggish or standing water.[3]

M. electricus is a voracious piscivore. It uses its electrical discharges to stun prey. It is an opportunistic feeder and will feed on any readily available prey in the habitat. These fish are slow-moving, deliberate feeders with infrequent, heavy meals.[3]

Breeding pairs of M. electricus nest in holes about 3 metres (10 ft) in length excavated in clay banks in water 1–3 m (3–10 ft) deep.[3]

Relationship to humans

The electrical discharge of M. electricus is not known to be fatal to humans.[3]

M. electricus is eaten as food in certain parts of Africa. Along the shores of Lake Kainji, smoked electric catfish is a popular delicacy.[3] M. electricus is also sometimes encountered as an aquarium fish.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-25031-7. 
  2. ^ Ferraris, Carl J., Jr. (2007). "Checklist of catfishes, recent and fossil (Osteichthyes: Siluriformes), and catalogue of siluriform primary types" (PDF). Zootaxa 1418: 1–628. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ng, Heok Hee (2000). "Malapterurus electricus". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Malapterurus — Mal*ap te*ru rus (m[a^]l*[a^]p t[ e]*r[udd] r[u^]s), prop. n. [NL., from Gr. malako s soft + ptero n wing + o yra tail.] (Zo[ o]l.) A genus of African siluroid fishes, including the electric catfishes. See {Electric cat}, under {Electric}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Malapterūrus — Malapterūrus, so v.w. Zitterwels …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Malapterūrus — Malapterūrus, s. Zitterwels …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Malapterurus —   Malapterurus …   Wikipedia Español

  • Malapterurus — Poisson chat électrique Malapterurus …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Malapterurus — elektriniai šamai statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas gentis atitikmenys: lot. Malapterurus angl. electric catfishes rus. электрические сомы ryšiai: platesnis terminas – elektriniai šamai siauresnis terminas – elektrinis šamas …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • Malapterurus Microstoma — Malapterurus microstoma …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Malapterurus microstoma — Malapterurus microstoma …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Malapterurus Minjiyria — Malapterurus minjiyria …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Malapterurus barbatus — Malapterurus arbatus Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actin …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”