To the English-speaking Europeans of southern Africa, this well-known fish is the "Cornish Jack" or "Bottlenose"; to the Africans on Lake Malawi it is "Nyanda," "Njolo," "Nkupe," or "Ngondi"; to the taxonomist it is Mormyrops anguilloides, formerly Mormyrops deliciosus. Whatever you call it, this is an impressive fish. It is the largest of the six mormyrids in Lake Malawi, there attaining 4.5 Kg (10 pounds; Jackson, 1961). However, this species is also distributed throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. In parts of its range, the Cornish Jack can reach a weight of 15 Kg (33 pounds) and a total length of 150 cm or 59 inches (FishBase)!
In L. Malawi this mormyrid, a predator on small fishes, crabs, and insects (Bertram et al., 1942), is not very common. It is, however, found both in sheltered habitats such as lakeshore lagoons and, less frequently, in deep water (Jackson, 1961).
The above illustration by Hilda M. Jubb, from Jubb (1967), is reproduced here with the kind permission of Mr. A. T. Balkema of A. A. Balkema Publishers, Rotterdam.
|Last Update: 11 August 2000
Web Author: M. K. Oliver, Ph.D.
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