Mormyrus longirostris is another widespread, nonendemic mormyrid found in Lake Malawi. It is sufficiently common, and large, to be important as human food. Jackson (1961) implies that it grows larger in Lake Malombe ("20 lb. or more") than in Lake Malawi. Jackson reported that at Nkata Bay it was "...commonly caught in deep gill nets down to the limits of dissolved oxygen, and appears in Lake [Malawi] generally to prefer the deeper water where possible. Appears to have a prolonged breeding season, and at Nkata Bay are mainly caught in the 4 in. gill-net, the best months being August, September and October. A breeding migration probably occurs." Its diet includes chironomid midge larvae, small fishes, aquatic plants, bloodworms, crustaceans, and mollusks (Jackson, 1961; FishBase), which it locates on sandy or muddy substrates. In Malawi, Jackson (1961) recorded the African names "Chigonde," "Mbelewele," and "Panda" for this species. At Monkey Bay, I recorded an additional Chichewa name, "Bótomu," a word that alludes to the small mouth. The above illustration was rendered by Hilda M. Jubb, from Jubb (1967), and is used here with the generous permission of Mr. A. T. Balkema of A. A. Balkema Publishers, Rotterdam.
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Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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