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Southern Company River Scout

Elephantnose fish

Elephantnose fish

(Gnathonemus petersii)

The elephantnose fish is a freshwater species that occurs mainly in several river basins in West Africa. Its body is dark brown in color, slender and laterally compressed. It has a long chin barbel, suggesting the origin of its name. This is a very social fish, usually found swimming in large schools.

The elephantnose fish uses electric sensory receptors to hunt for worms and insects, usually at night. These electric receptors are distributed throughout the ventral and dorsal regions of its body. It is also has an electric organ located on the base of its tail which can produce a low level electric discharge.

Look for the elephantnose fish in its own habitat in the River Scout gallery.

Fun Facts

  • The elephantnose fish is known for its territorial behavior and aggressiveness during breeding season.
  • Laboratory tests have detected an electric discharge in the water during reproductive activity.
  • This fish is believed to prefer to swim among slow moving waters in large rivers.
  • It is believed to have excellent hearing.
  • This species is more commonly known as "Peter's elephantnose fish".
  • Download full fact sheet

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