How to help families in Ukraine

FOR KIDS AGED 3 TO 18

Fun Vundu Catfish Facts For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The Clariidae family consists of around 116 freshwater species of airbreathing catfishes, which are further divided into 14 genera. This article is about the largest freshwater catfish of Africa, and it will tell you everything you need to know about them including their range, distributions, habitat, diet, and breeding habits!

The vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis) is a species of the largest freshwater catfish native to Africa. The species was introduced and described by Achille Valenciennes, a French zoologist in 1840. In Africa, vundu catfishes are commonly known as the Solomon fish, tsuni, sampa, cur, lenda, certa, and mazunda. They can be found in the African countries of Niger, Senegal, Egypt, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and Uganda. Vundu catfishes can be found in plenty in rivers, lakes, and other freshwater habitats. This fish is light to dark olive-brown on its dorsal surface, getting lighter over the mid-body to a light brown, off-white belly.

Learn about some other fishes from our Wels catfish facts and blue catfish facts pages.

Fun Vundu Catfish Facts For Kids


What do they prey on?

Smaller fish and invertebrates

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

6,000-51,000

How much do they weigh?

121-132 lb (55-60 kg)

How long are they?

5-6 ft (152-183 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A


What do they look like?

Brown and gray

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What were their main threats?

Heavy Fishing

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Rivers, Freshwater Bodies, Deep Lakes

Locations

Africa, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic Of Congo, Uganda

Kingdom

Animalia

Genus

Heterobranchus

Class

Actinopterygii

Family

Clariidae

Vundu Catfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a vundu catfish?

The vundu catfish (Heterobranchus longifilis) just like its name suggests is a fish belonging to the Animalia kingdom.

What class of animal does a vundu catfish belong to?

The vundu catfish (Heterobranchus longifilis) belongs to the Actinopterygii class and is the genus of Heterobranchus.

How many vundu catfish are there in the world?

Accurate data about their population size is unknown. However, they are considered a common species in African countries.

Where does a vundu catfish live?

The vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis) is mostly found in the African countries of Niger, Senegal, Egypt, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.

What is a vundu catfish's habitat?

This fish lives in large deep rivers, lakes, deep ponds, and other freshwater habitats. It is found in the Benue River, Volta River, Niger River, Gambia River, Senegal River, Lake Chad, Omo River, Congo River Basin, Lake Rukwa, Lake Kariba, Zambezi River, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Edward. In the course of the dry season, they often rest in the mud of marshy ponds for weeks until the next rainy season. Most active at night, this catfish feeds on any available food.

Who do vundu catfish live with?

Vundu catfishes are solitary and live alone. They temporarily pair up during the breeding season and split up soon after the female catfish lays her eggs.

How long does a vundu catfish live?

The vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis) life span is about 12 years. This catfish can also endure being out of the water for a long period.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season for this species begins during the rainy seasons in late May or June. A breeding vundu catfish generally travels or migrates to the side arms of wide rivers that overflow and flood the nearby flat zones with river water. These catfish reproduce via sexual reproduction and spawning. The coupled-up pair build their nest in submerged timber, weeds, or rocks. The female catfish then lays around 6,000-51,000 eggs in the nest. After this, the male displays a peculiar behavior where it chases away the female and guards the eggs until they are hatched.

What is their conservation status?

The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has classified the vundu catfish as a species of Least Concern. The vundu (Heterobranchus longifilis) is generally uncommon, but it is not considered threatened despite having declined locally due to water pollution and destruction of their natural habitat. They are becoming rare in habitats like Lake Kariba, the rivers of Zimbabwe, and Uganda. Excessive fishing has also affected their population size drastically in recent years. If these issues are not resolved soon, this species may face the dangers of extinction. Therefore, you are encouraged not to catch them, and let them be free so they can reproduce and recover from the decrease in its population size.

Vundu Catfish Fun Facts

What do vundu catfish look like?

The vundu catfish (cur, lenda, or certa) looks somewhat strange but is the largest, and heavy-bodied, freshwater fish from Africa. The upper body is dark olive-brown, and fades into lighter shades of brown near the lower regions, its belly is pale yellow or off-white, its head is wide, broad, with a rounded snout. The fins are usually a light brown and the eyes are lateral and ineffective. The size of its second dorsal fin and barbells is second to no other fish found in its range. The barbells in particular are extremely long and are developed to make it easier for the fish to hunt in murky waters.

Discover interesting facts about the vundu catfish's habitat.
We've been unable to source an image of a vundu catfish and have used an image of a redtail catfish instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of vundu catfish, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected]

 

How cute are they?

Vundu catfishes are not cute, but they are also not considered ugly either.

How do they communicate?

The vundu catfish uses its highly developed sense of smell and analyses vibrations in the water to detect and hunt its prey.

How big is a vundu catfish?

A vundu catfish (Heterobranchus longifilis) grows up to 5-6 ft (152-183 cm) in length. The rainbow trout is nearly four times the size of this fish!

How fast can a vundu catfish swim?

The swimming rate of a vundu catfish is unknown. However, despite their monstrous size these fishes make swift movements and are challenging to catch.

How much does a vundu catfish weigh?

An adult vundu catfish weighs around 121-132 lb (55-60 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

This species does not have sex-specific names for the male and female members and are simply known as males and females.

What would you call a baby vundu catfish?

A baby vundu catfish is called a larva.

What do they eat?

The vundu catfish is the strongest, largest, and most fierce predator. Due to the ineffective eye site, it depends on its sense of smell to hunt its food. These catfishes are omnivorous but can also be cannibalistic in case there is a scarcity of food in their habitat. The vundu is known as a bottom-feeding river species and is most active during the night. They satisfy most of their dietary requirements after dawn. This species feeds on any available food. Younger fishes feed on small invertebrates and move on to bony fishes and small vertebrates as they grow. They often forage in deep rivers within the mainstream or in deep pools and lakes. They also scavenge off animal carcasses found near river banks.

Crocodiles often prey on them.

Are they dangerous?

Vundu catfishes are fairly dangerous as they do not like unwanted company and will fiercely defend themselves and their territory by attacking any invaders. They might leave you with a few scratches and bruises, but nothing too serious.

Would they make a good pet?

No, because vundu catfishes are very aggressive and enormous in size. They would not make good pets.

Did you know...

They are an essential source of animal protein in Africa, Uganda, and various other countries of the world, because this fish has an omega-3-rich fillet.

In aquaculture, this catfish is often crossbred with the African sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus), and their offspring are known as Hetero clarias.

Some catfishes also prefer feeding at night. Catfishes can eat both during the day and at night.

What is the biggest species of catfish?

The Mekong giant catfish is the official freshwater heavyweight champion of the world. According to the Guinness Book of Records, a 9 ft (2.74 m) long individual was caught in Thailand in 2005, and it weighed 646 lb (293 kg), making it the largest freshwater fish ever recorded!

What is the largest catfish in Africa?

The vundu catfish is the largest catfish species in Africa and can be found in the African countries of Niger, Senegal, Egypt, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and Uganda.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our mutton snapper fun facts or moon jellyfish fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable vundu catfish coloring pages.

Second image by Calivitamini

* We've been unable to source an image of a vundu catfish and have used an image of a redtail catfish instead as the main image. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a vundu catfish, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected] 

Author
Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?