The leopard bushfish is a patient predator, waiting very still until prey passes by. It will then open its mouth, suck in and swallow its prey whole.
  • Size

    6 inches (15.24 cm)
  • Diet

    Small-sized fish, amphibians, fish eggs, insects, shellfish, small crustaceans
  • Range

    Congo River basin
  • Habitat

    Rivers

Physical Characteristics

  • Body is rounded and laterally compressed with an elongated snout, wide mouth and large eyes.
  • Standard length is six inches.
  • Coloration is patterned with a golden-yellow base and brown spots.
    • One of the most colorful species of the Ctenopoma
  • Exhibit spines on gill covers.
    • Males tend to have more than females.

Animal Fact

The leopard bushfish possesses a breathing organ (known as the labyrinth organ) that allows the fish to breathe atmospheric air to a certain extent.

Diet / Feeding

  • Predatory; diet consists of fish juveniles, small-sized fish, amphibians, fish eggs, insects, shellfish and small crustaceans.
  • To take in food, it will open its mouth, suck in and swallow its prey whole.
  • Patient predator often remaining still waiting for food to pass by.
    • Mimic leaves and other aquatic debris while hunting their prey by turning its body completely vertical and bending its caudal tail.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in tropical, freshwater throughout the middle Congo River basin in Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.
    • Widely distributed from Malebo Pool, upstream to Boyoma Falls.
    • Found from the lower Congo River just downstream of the Kinsuka rapids.
    • Seen in several major tributary systems, including the Kasai, Lefini, Ubangi, Tshuapa, and Lomami.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Oviparous; egg-laying species that are egg-scatterers.
  • To breed, a pair will embrace and then release eggs and sperm.
    • Adults exhibit no parental care after eggs and sperm are released.
    • Eggs will float to the surface and hatch within 48 hours.
    • Females may lay up to several thousand eggs.
    • Build bubble nests for eggs.
  • Thought to breed seasonally – spawning regularly for several months and then stop for several months.
  • Fry survival rate is usually very low.

Conservation Status

  • Listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Also known as, “Spotted Climbing Perch,” “African Leaf Fish,” and “Leopard Ctenopoma.”
  • Scientific name derives from the Latin word acutusmeaning “sharp” and rostrummeaning “snout.”
  • Typically live 5-10 years.
  • Possess a breathing organ (known as the labyrinth organ) that allows the fish to breathe atmospheric air to a certain extent.
  • Most active at night and often hides among thick vegetation during the day.
  • Harmless to humans.

Sources

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