Hydrocynus forskahlii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Characiformes Alestidae

Scientific Name: Hydrocynus forskahlii (Cuvier, 1819)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Elongate Tigerfish, Characin, Tigerfish, Tiger fish
Hydrocynus forskalii (Cuvier, 1819)
Hydrocyon forskhali Cuvier, 1819
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. and Fricke, R. (eds). 2015. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 2 September 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2015).
Taxonomic Notes: Also reported from Lake Turkana as Hydrocyon forskahlii (erroeneous generic name) and sometimes misspelled as H. forskali or H. forskalii (Seegers et al. 2004)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-05-01
Assessor(s): Akinyi, E., Azeroual, A., Entsua-Mensah, M., Getahun, A., Lalèyè, P., Moelants, T. & Twongo, T.
Reviewer(s): Snoeks, J., Tweddle, D., Getahun, A., Lalèyè, P., Paugy, D., Zaiss, R., Fishar, M.R.A & Brooks, E.
This species has a wide distribution, with no known major widespread threats. It is therefore listed as Least Concern. It has also been assessed regionally as Least Concern for central, eastern, northern, north eastern and western Africa.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a wider distribution area than other Hydrocynus species since it occurs in both, the savannah as well as the forested areas. It ranges from Senegal to Ethiopia, and Egypt to Uganda and Kenya.

Central Africa: Hydrocynus forskahlii is known from the Lower and Central Congo River basin and from Pool Malebo (Stanley Pool). The records from Lake Mweru are possibly Hydrocinus vittatus.

Eastern Africa: It is present in Lake Albert, the Albert and Murchison Niles, and Lake Turkana

Northern Africa: This species is found along the River Nile, and Lake Nasser (also known as Lake Nubia). The population used to increase during flood season before the construction of Aswan Dam.

Northeast Africa: It is known from the Ghazal and Jebel systems in Sudan, Tekeze and Setit in Eritrea, and the Rift lakes, and Baro and Omo Rivers, Ethiopia

Western Africa: In West Africa it is found in the basins of the Chad, Niger/Benue, Ogun, Ouémé, Mono, Volta, Comoé, Bandama, Sassandra, Nipoué (Cess), St. Paul, Mano, Little Scarcies, Gambia, and Senegal.
Countries occurrence:
Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Limited information available. Commonly found in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Hydrocynus forskahlii is a pelagic, potamodromous species that forms shoals. It is an open water predator often found near the water surface (Bell-Cross and Minshull 1988) and feeds on fishes, preferring long bodied fish as they are easier to swallow and also takes insects, shrimps, grass and snails (Bell-Cross and Minshull 1988). This species is cannibalistic. It is preyed upon by fish eagle Haliaeetus vocifer (Bell-Cross and Minshull 1988). Breeding migrations have been reported up several tributaries of Lake Kariba during the rains (Bell-Cross and Minshull 1988). Spawning takes place most of the year.
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Economic importance: This fish used to be salted especially in Upper Egyptian Nile, but is now imported as salted fish from Sudan (Bishai and Khalil 1997).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Bad agricultural practices in areas around the Volta may pose potential threats to this fish species. Increased sediments and levels of pesticides, fertilizers and other agrochemicals can harmfully impact the ecosystems, and negatively affect the fish. Other potential problems include aquatic weeds and pollution from inadequately treated human waste. It is a commercially important fish species with heavy fishing pressure. In northern Africa, dams, water pollution (agriculture, domestic and commercial/industrial), groundwater extraction and drought pose possible threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a conservation policy in place in Ghana (Inland fisheries policy; Wetlands Management Strategy). More research is needed into this species population numbers and range, biology and ecology, habitat status and threats, as well as monitoring and potential conservation measures.

Citation: Akinyi, E., Azeroual, A., Entsua-Mensah, M., Getahun, A., Lalèyè, P., Moelants, T. & Twongo, T. 2010. Hydrocynus forskahlii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T182366A7870497. . Downloaded on 22 September 2017.
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