Cuckoo Catfish (Breeding, Habitat, and Diet)

Cuckoo Catfish

Cuckoo Catfish, also known as Cuckoo Squeaker, or Multipunk, is a small catfish found in Lake Tanganyika in Africa.

This lake is part of the Great Rift Valley system.

It mostly eats a type of snail called Neothauma and other small organisms living at the bottom of the lake.

Cuckoo catfish are not a major part of local fishing, but they are sometimes caught and sold.

Cuckoo Catfish Interesting Facts

  • Cuckoo catfish is also known as the cuckoo squeaker or multipunk.
  • This small catfish from Lake Tanganyika in Africa grows up to 27.5 centimeters long.
  • This fish practices brood parasitism on mouthbrooding cichlids by mixing its eggs with those of the cichlids’.
  • It feeds on snails called Neothauma that live in muddy bottoms at least 100 meters deep in Lake Tanganyika.

Cuckoo Catfish Habitat

Cuckoo catfish is found in Lake Tanganyika, which is located in Africa. They live in freshwater and swim close to the bottom of the lake.

These catfish prefer water with a hardness range of 15 to 35 dH (a measure of water’s mineral content) and temperatures between 70°F to 77°F (21°C to 25°C).

They are typically found in tropical areas, between 3°South and 9°South latitude.

Water Temperature:70°F to 77°F (21°C to 25°C)
Water pH:Unknown
Water Hardness:15 to 35 dH

Cuckoo Catfish Physical Characteristics

Size: 10.8 inches (27.5 centimeters)

Cuckoo catfish grow up to a maximum length of 10.8 inches (27.5 cm).

They have 2 dorsal spines and 7 soft rays on their dorsal fin, while their anal fin has no spines and 9 to 12 soft rays.

Cuckoo catfish have an axillary pore (a small opening near the base of the fins), 13 to 29 mandibular teeth (teeth on the lower jaw), large spots on the body, dark fin spines, 8 pectoral-fin rays (rays on the side fins), black triangles at the base of pelvic fins, and anal fins are either absent or not well developed.

Eyes make up 44.9% to 62% of the snout length. They also have an uninterrupted premaxillary toothpad (teeth on the upper jaw).

There are no secondary branches on the medial mandibular barbel (whisker-like sensory organ).

However, there is a protective shield on the back of the head (occipito-nuchal shield), which is usually covered with skin.

Papillae (small bumps) on the skin and hindgut chamber (part of the digestive system) are also absent.

Cuckoo Catfish Reproduction

Cuckoo Catfish has a unique way of reproducing called brood parasitism.

It’s the only known species that practice brood parasitism by blending its eggs with mouthbrooding cichlids.

Cuckoo catfish lay eggs (oviparous) and form distinct pairs during breeding.

The cichlids accidentally pick up the eggs of cuckoo catfish along with their own. The larvae of cuckoo catfish grow faster than cichlids’ fry.

As they grow, the cuckoo catfish larvae feed on the baby cichlids inside the mouth of the host cichlid for sustenance.

Cuckoo Catfish Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Synodontis multipunctatus
Also Known As:Cuckoo Catfish, Cuckoo Squeaker, Multipunk
Conservation Status:Least Concern

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