Papyrocranus afer 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Osteoglossiformes Notopteridae

Scientific Name: Papyrocranus afer
Species Authority: (Günther, 1868)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Feather back, Reticulate knifefish, Reticulate knifefish (FB)
Notopterus afer Günther, 1868
Notopterus afer congensis (non Nichols & LaMonte, 1932)
Papyrochranus afer (Günther, 1868)
Paryrocranus afer (Günther, 1868)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-05-01
Assessor(s): Lalèyè, P. & Moelants, 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 and western Africa.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from Senegal to Ghana, and Nigeria and Cameroon. The distribution of Papyrocranus afer is discontinuous with its congener, Papyrocranus congoensis which occurs in the Congo River basin.

Central Africa: In Lower Guinea, Papyrocranus afer is found in the Cross Meme, Wouri and Sanaga River basins in Nigeria and Cameroon.

Western Africa: It is found in coastal drainages throughout West Africa, from the Niger, Benue, and Niger delta, and in most of the West African coastal rivers in Senegal/Gambia. It is absent from the Volta River basin, and in Togo and from Lake Chad basin. A recent record from Benin in Oueme River needs confirmation (Lalèyè pers. comm.).
Countries occurrence:
Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Liberia; Mali; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No available data.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Papyrocranus afer prefers calm waters with dense vegetation. It is a demersal species.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is harvested for human consumption, and for the aquarium trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species has commercial importance as an aquarium fish.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None known.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.13. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Inland Deltas
suitability: Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.6. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Pan-Africa freshwater assessment references. Currently, full citations for references used in the Pan-Africa biodiversity assessments are unavailable on the Red List web site. These will be added to the site in 2011. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Citation: Lalèyè, P. & Moelants, T. 2010. Papyrocranus afer. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T181889A7757688. . Downloaded on 25 November 2015.
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