The cuckoo catfish is found in Lake Tanganyika in Africa.
  • Size

    Up to 10.8 inches (27 cm)
  • Diet

    Omnivorous bottom feeder
  • Range

    Occurs in Lake Tanganyika, Africa
  • Habitat

    Found over muddy bottoms

Physical Characteristics

  • Maximum length of 10.8 inches (27.4 cm).
  • The body is typically white, tan or gold with black spots that increase in size from the head towards the tail.
  • Dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins are predominantly black with white edges. The two anal fins are also pale, with small black triangles close to the body.
  • Barbles are typically white.

Animal Fact

The cuckoo catfish is the only fish known to practice brood parasitism.

Diet / Feeding

  • Omnivorous bottom feeder.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in Lake Tanganyika, Africa.
  • Found over muddy bottoms at depths up to 328 feet (100 m).

Reproduction & Growth

  • Oviparous, or egg-laying, species.
  • Forms distinct pairs when mating.
  • Only fish known to practice brood parasitism.
    • A breeding pair will mix its eggs into the spawning nests of mouthbrooding cichlids.
    • Cichlids take the eggs into the mouth, mixing the catfish eggs with the cichlid eggs.
    • Catfish larvae grow faster than those of the cichlid host and will feed on the cichlid larvae.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.


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