Original Articles

A morphological key for the identification of southern African Synodontis species Cuvier, 1816 (Teleostei: Mochokidae)


Abstract

The identification of the southern African Synodontis species is hampered by variable and overlapping morphological characteristics such as colour, pigmentation patterns and morphometric ratios. Species are often misidentified due to the complicated nature of the present identification keys. The morphological key proposed in this note uses simplified characters including the shape of the humeral process, size of the outer mandibular barbel, teeth rows, position of the mouth, basal membrane of the maxillary barbel and length of the maxillary barbels, plus the natural distribution range of certain species to facilitate positive identification of southern African Synodontis specimens.

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