v. 14.1 – 12 Jan. 2018  view/download PDF

6 families • 32 genera/subgenera • 252 species/subspecies

Family PANTODONTIDAE Freshwater Butterflyfish

Pantodon Peters 1876    panto-, all or every; odon, tooth, referring to numerous teeth

Pantodon buchholzi Peters 1876    in honor of physician and African explorer Reinhold Buchholz (1837-1876), who collected type

Family OSTEOGLOSSIDAE Bonytongues
3 genera/subgenera • 6 species

Osteoglossum Cuvier 1829    osteo-, bone; glossum, tongue, referring to toothed tongue, which bites against similarly toothed bones in roof of mouth

Osteoglossum bicirrhosum (Cuvier 1829)    bi-, two; cirrosum, curled, referring to forked barbel at tip of bottom jaw

Osteoglossum ferreirai Kanazawa 1966    in honor of Portuguese naturalist Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira (1756-1815), the first to collect and document osteoglossids; the “many new species he brought back from Brazil gave recognition to others, but not to him. Through unfortunate circumstances his work has been ignored; therefore, I take this opportunity to honor him.”

Scleropages Günther 1864    sclero-, hard; pagos, fastened, i.e., firmly put together, presumably referring to its scales, which Günther later (1868) described as “large hard scales, composed of pieces like mosaic”

Subgenus Scleropages

Scleropages jardinii (Saville-Kent 1892)    in honor of Francis Lascelles (Frank) Jardine (1841-1919), Australian colonist and explorer, who collected type

Scleropages leichardti Günther 1864    in honor of Ludwig Leichhardt (1813-1848), Prussian-born explorer and scientist, most famous for his exploration of northern and central Australia, who collected type [Günther apparently misspelled the explorer’s name, leaving out an “h”]

Subgenus Delsmania Fowler 1934    ia, belonging to: H. C. Delsman, Director of the Laboratorium voor het Onderzoek der Zee, Batavia, for his “excellent” studies on the larval fishes of the Java Sea

Scleropages formosus (Müller & Schlegel 1840)    beautiful, referring to “beautifully green” (translation) body coloration and orange-yellow fins; some literature suggests name refers to Formosa (Taiwan), but it does not occur there

Scleropages inscriptus Roberts 2012    inscribed, referring to complex, maze-like markings on scales and facial bones

Family ARAPAIMIDAE Arapaimas
2 genera • 5 species

Arapaima Müller 1843    American Spanish or Portuguese name for this fish, probably of Tupian origin

Arapaima agassizi (Valenciennes 1847)    in honor of zoologist-geologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), whose 1829 text and osteological illustrations (supervised) were the basis for this description

Arapaima gigas (Schinz 1822)    leptos, slender; soma, body, referring to relatively slender body form

Arapaima leptosoma Stewart 2013    giant, largest freshwater fish in the Amazon (up to 4.5 m and 200 kg)

Arapaima mapae (Valenciennes 1847)    of Lago Mapa (now Lago do Amapá), Amapá State, Brazil, type locality

Heterotis Rüppell 1828    hetero-, different; otos, ear, referring to helically-shaped suprabranchial organ on fourth gill arch

Heterotis niloticus (Cuvier 1829)    icus, belonging to: Nile River, type locality

Family NOTOPTERIDAE Featherfin Knifefishes
4 genera • 10 species


Chitala Fowler 1934    tautonymous with Mystus chitala; Bengali vernacular for fishes in this genus

Chitala blanci (d’Aubenton 1965)    in honor of friend and colleague M. Blanc, in memory of an especially dangerous fish-collecting trip in 1959 (presumably in the Cambodian Mekong)

Chitala borneensis (Bleeker 1851)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Borneo (Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia), where it is endemic

Chitala chitala (Hamilton 1822)    Bengali vernacular for this species (and others in genus)

Chitala hypselonotus (Bleeker 1852)    hypselo-, high; notus, back, probably referring to strongly concave cranio-dorsal outline (a characteristic of genus)

Chitala lopis (Bleeker 1851)    indigenous name for this fish in Samarang, Indonesia

Chitala ornata (Gray 1831)    adorned or decorated, referring to large round eyespots on tail

Notopterus Lacepède 1800    tautonymous with Gymnotus notopterus

Notopterus notopterus (Pallas 1769)    notus, back; pteron, feather, referring to small, quill-like dorsal fin


Papyrocranus Greenwood 1963    papyros, paper-reed; kranos, helmet, referring to paper-thin roofing bones of the skull

Papyrocranus afer (Günther 1868)    African, being an African representative of a family largely known from Asia

Papyrocranus congoensis (Nichols & La Monte 1932)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Congo River basin of west-central Africa, where it is endemic

Xenomystus Günther 1868    xenos, strange or foreign, perhaps referring to African distribution of a family largely known from Asia, or to the oddity of mystus (derived from mystax, moustache), referring to “Nasal appendages rather long, forming a pair of barbels as long as the snout”

Xenomystus nigri (Günther 1868)    of the River Niger, type locality

Family MORMYRIDAE Elephantfishes
20 genera • 229 species/subspecies


Boulengeromyrus Taverne & Géry 1968     in honor of George A. Boulenger (1858-1937), to whom we owe the descriptions of some 80 species of mormyrids; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Boulengeromyrus knoepffleri Taverne & Géry 1968    in honor of friend and colleague L.-Ph. Knoepffler, for contributions to the herpetology and ichthyology of Gabon

Brevimyrus Taverne 1971    brevis, short, referring to moderately short body compared to Brienomyrus; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Brevimyrus niger (Günther 1866)    blackish, with indistinct and irregular darkish cross bands and black head, back and fins

Brienomyrus Taverne 1971    in honor of zoologist Paul Brien, professor emeritus, l’Université Libre de Bruxelles; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Brienomyrus adustus (Fowler 1936)    swarthy, referring to brown coloration, marbled or clouded with dark or blackish brown markings on trunk and tail

Brienomyrus brachyistius (Gill 1862)    brachys, short; histion, sail, referring to short dorsal fin

Brienomyrus longianalis (Boulenger 1901)    longus, long; analis, pertaining to anal fin, which is 2.0-2.5 times longer than dorsal fin

Brienomyrus sphekodes (Sauvage 1879)    wasp-like, allusion not explained nor evident

Brienomyrus tavernei Poll 1972    in honor of Louis Taverne, Musée Royal de L’Afrìque Centrale (Tervuren, Belgium), whose osteological studies have considerably advanced the classification of mormyrid fishes

Campylomormyrus Bleeker 1874    campylo-, bent or curved, describing a Mormyrus with a downward-pointing snout

Campylomormyrus alces (Boulenger 1920)    deer or elk, probably referring to deer-like dark brown coloration above and silvery white coloration below

Campylomormyrus bredoi (Poll 1945)    in honor of Belgian explorer Hans J. Brédo (1903-1991), who collected type

Campylomormyrus cassaicus (Poll 1967)    icus, belonging to: Kasai (spelled Cassai in Angola) River drainage, which includes Luachimo River, type locality

Campylomormyrus christyi (Boulenger 1920)    in honor of Cuthbert Christy (1863-1932), explorer and naturalist for the Belgian government, who collected type

Campylomormyrus curvirostris (Boulenger 1898)    curvis, bent; rostris, snout, referring to nearly vertical downward-pointing snout

Campylomormyrus elephas (Boulenger 1898)    elephantine, allusion not explained but obviously referring to long, trunk-like snout

Campylomormyrus luapulaensis (David & Poll 1937)    ensis, suffix denoting place: upper Luapula River, Congo River basin, Kabunda (Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire), type locality

Campylomormyrus mirus (Boulenger 1898)    wonderful, allusion not evident, possibly referring to striking appearance of markedly elongate barbel, up to ¾ length of snout

Campylomormyrus numenius (Boulenger 1898)    genus name for curlews, wading birds whose long, slender, downcurved bill is similar to the snout of this fish

Campylomormyrus orycteropus Poll, Gosse & Orts 1982    genus name for aardvark (orycto-, shovel; pous, foot), referring to the aardvark-like shape of nose

Campylomormyrus phantasticus (Pellegrin 1927)    imaginary, allusion not explained but probably referring to the downward-pointing snout of this “curieux Poisson” (curious fish)

Campylomormyrus rhynchophorus (Boulenger 1898)    rhynchos, snout; pherein, to have or bear, referring to prominent snout, twice as large as postocular part of head

Campylomormyrus tamandua (Günther 1864)    genus name for edentate anteaters of tropical America, from the Portuguese tamanduá, derived from the Tupí taa, ant, and mundeu, trap or catch, presumably referring to long and nearly straight tubular snout, resembling that of an anteater

Campylomormyrus tshokwe (Poll 1967)    etymology not explained but probably referring to the Tschokwe (also spelled Chokwe) peoples of central Africa, where this species occurs

Cryptomyrus Sullivan, Lavoué & Hopkins 2016    kryptos, secret or hidden, referring to the rarity of these fishes in collections; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Cryptomyrus ogoouensis Sullivan, Lavoué & Hopkins 2016    –ensis, suffix denoting place: Ogooué River, Gabon, where it is endemic

Cryptomyrus ona Sullivan, Lavoué & Hopkins 2016    in honor of Marc Ona Essangui, Gabonese environmental and civic activist, founder and executive director of the NGO Brainforest and recipient of the 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize, for his efforts to protect Gabon’s equatorial forests and wetlands

Cyphomyrus Myers 1960    cypho, hunchback, referring to convex predorsal profile of back; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Cyphomyrus cubangoensis (Pellegrin 1936)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Cubango (now Okavango) River basin, near Vila da Ponte, Angola, type locality

Cyphomyrus discorhynchus (Peters 1852)    discus, flat or circular plate; rhynchus, snout, probably referring to rounded snout

Cyphomyrus macrops (Boulenger 1909)    macro-, large; –ops, eye, referring to large eye, twice as long as snout

Cyphomyrus psittacus (Boulenger 1897)    parrot, allusion not evident, perhaps its silver and dark grey coloration is similar to that of the African Grey Parrot, Psittacus erithacus

Cyphomyrus wilverthi (Boulenger 1898)    in honor of Capt. E. Wilverth, who collected numerous fishes from the Congo under the auspices of the Société d’Études coloniales

Genyomyrus Boulenger 1898    genys, jaw, allusion not evident but possibly referring to small, rasp-like teeth in jaws; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Genyomyrus donnyi Boulenger 1898    in honor of Gen. Albert Donny, president of the Société d’Études coloniales, which sponsored first major collection of fishes from the Congo

Gnathonemus Gill 1863    gnathos, jaw; nema, thread, referring to lower jaw with a “conical flap or barbel”

Gnathonemus barbatus Poll 1967    bearded, referring to long chin barbel

Gnathonemus echidnorhynchus Pellegrin 1924    echinos, hedgehog; rhynchus, snout, referring to prolonged snout, which vaguely resembles that of a hedgehog

Gnathonemus longibarbis (Hilgendorf 1888)    longus, long; barbis, barbel, referring to longer barbels (nearly equal to snout length) than Mormyrus (=Marcusenius) ussheri

Gnathonemus petersii (Günther 1862)    patronym not identified but probably in honor of Wilhelm Peters (18152-1883), German herpetologist and explorer who traveled to Africa and returned to Berlin with an enormous collection of natural history specimens

Heteromormyrus Steindachner 1866    heteros, different, described as a subgenus of Mormyrus in which anal fin is longer than dorsal fin, unlike congeners

Heteromormyrus pauciradiatus Steindachner 1866    paucus, few; radiatus, rayed, referring to significantly fewer dorsal and anal fin rays compared to the similarly round-nosed Mormyrus (=Cyphomyrus) discorhynchus

Hippopotamyrus Pappenheim 1906    referring to lower median teeth which, in their direction and length, correspond to those of the lower jaw of a hippopotamus; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Hippopotamyrus aelsbroecki (Poll 1945)    in honor of R. P. Van Aelsbroeck, Musée du Congo Belge (Tervuren, Belgium), who collected type

Hippopotamyrus ansorgii (Boulenger 1905)    in honor of explorer William John Ansorge (1850-1913), who collected type

Hippopotamyrus castor Pappenheim 1906    beaver, referring to median teeth which protrude from lower jaw like the incisors of a beaver, Castor canadiensis

Hippopotamyrus grahami (Norman 1928)    in honor of fisheries biologist Michael Graham (1898-1972), who collected type during a “fishing survey” of Lake Victoria and presented it to the British Museum (Natural History)

Hippopotamyrus harringtoni (Boulenger 1905)    in honor of Sir John Harrington, British adventurer and diplomat

Hippopotamyrus longilateralis Kramer & Swartz 2010    longus, long, referring to longer lateral line (more scales) compared to other members of H. ansorgii species complex

Hippopotamyrus macroterops (Boulenger 1920)    macro-, long; teres, rounded; ops, face, probably referring to rounded snout, as long as the eye

Hippopotamyrus pappenheimi (Boulenger 1910)    in honor of Paul Pappenheim (1878-1945), curator of fishes, Royal Museum of Berlin, for his contributions to the knowledge of mormyrids

Hippopotamyrus paugyi Lévêque & Bigorne 1985    in honor of the authors’ colleague, hydrobiologist Daniel Paugy, with whom this species was collected

Hippopotamyrus pictus (Marcusen 1864)    painted or colored, probably referring to dark bow tie-like (“Querbinde”) marking across body

Hippopotamyrus retrodorsalis (Nichols & Griscom 1917)    retro-, back; dorsalis, of the back, referring to posterior position of dorsal fin compared to Marcusenius (=Brienomyrus) sphekodes

Hippopotamyrus szaboi Kramer, van der Bank & Wink 2004    in honor of the late Thomas Szabo (1924-1993), Laboratoire de Neurophysiologie Sensorielle Comparée, one of the founding fathers of the field of electroreception and mentor and friend to senior author

Hippopotamyrus weeksii (Boulenger 1902)    in honor of Rev. J. H. Weeks, who collected type at his mission station in Monsembe, upper Congo River, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Hyperopisus Gill 1862    hypero-, very or above, referring to palatal teeth (on roof of mouth), which are pisus, pisiform (pea-shaped)

Hyperopisus bebe bebe (Lacepède 1803)    named after a place in Egypt where this species is abundant and/or where images of this fish (ancient Egyptians considered mormyrids sacred) can be seen in the ruins of temple of Isis (Egyptian goddess of fertility)

Hyperopisus bebe occidentalis Günther 1866    western, presumably a West African variant of the nilotic H. b. bebe

Isichthys Gill 1863    iso-, equal, probably referring to the “comparative proportions” of the elongated dorsal and anal fins; ichthys, fish

Isichthys henryi Gill 1863    in honor of Gill’s friend Joseph Henry (1797-1878), first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, “to whom I have been so much indebted for the privileges of studying the rich collections of the Institution, and especially of investigating the class to which the present species belongs”

Ivindomyrus Taverne & Géry 1975    from Ivindo River, Gabon, type locality; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see below)

Ivindomyrus marchei (Sauvage 1879)    in honor of naturalist Antonine-Alfred Marche (1844-1898), who collected specimens from the Ogooué (Ogowe) River in Gabon under the command of French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza

Ivindomyrus opdenboschi Taverne & Géry 1975    in honor of Armand Opdenbosch, Premier Technicien de la Recherche au Musée Royal de I’Afrique Centrale (Département de Zoologie, Section des Vertébrés), for his invaluable technical aid in the study of mormyrid systematics at Musée de Tervuren

Marcusenius Gill 1862    patronym not explained but clearly in honor of German ichthyologist Johann Marcusen, who wrote the first systematic studies of mormyrids in 1854 and 1864

Marcusenius abadii (Boulenger 1901)    in honor of Capt. G. F. Abadie, who contributed a single specimen to the British Museum

Marcusenius altisambesi Kramer, Skelton, van der Bank & Wink 2007    alti-, high; sambesi, Zambezi, referring to distribution in Upper Zambezi River (Namibia), at section ending at Victoria Falls

Marcusenius angolensis (Boulenger 1905)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Angola (Quanza River), type locality

Marcusenius annamariae (Parenzan 1939)    matronym not identified nor can identity be inferred from available evidence (is this the same woman honored under Mormyrus mariae?)

Marcusenius bentleyi (Boulenger 1897)    in honor of Baptist missionary William Holman Bentley (1855-1905), who acquired type at Stanley (Boyoma) Falls

Marcusenius brucii (Boulenger 1910)    in honor of Major G. E. Bruce, who obtained specimen and presented it to the British Museum

Marcusenius caudisquamatus Maake, Gon & Swartz 2014    cauda, tail; squamatus, scaled, referring to high number of circumpeduncular scales relative to congeners in South Africa

Marcusenius cuangoanus (Poll 1967)     anus, belonging to: Cuango River drainage (Angola), type locality

Marcusenius cyprinoides (Linnaeus 1758)    oides, having form of: cyprinus, carp or minnow, probably referring to carp- or minnow-like shape compared to elongate shape of Mormyrops anguilloides

Marcusenius deboensis (Daget 1954)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Lake Debo, Niger, type locality

Marcusenius desertus Kramer, van der Bank & Wink 2016    named for the Skeleton Coast desert, Skeleton Coast National Park (Namibia), type locality

Marcusenius devosi Kramer, Skelton, van der Bank & Wink 2007    in honor of Luc De Vos (1957-2003), late curator of fishes at Nairobi Museum, for his contributions to African ichthyology and promotion of ichthyology in East Africa

Marcusenius dundoensis (Poll 1967)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Dundo, Angola, near Sanga River, tributary of Luachimo River, type locality

Marcusenius friteli (Pellegrin 1904)    in honor of paleobiologist Paul-Honore Fritel (1867-1927), Pellegrin’s colleague at Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris)

Marcusenius furcidens (Pellegrin 1920)    furcatus, forked; dens, teeth, probably referring to markedly indented teeth

Marcusenius fuscus (Pellegrin 1901)    dark or swarthy, referring to uniformly chocolate brown coloration

Marcusenius gracilis Kramer 2013    slender, being more slender than other Ivorian and many other West African congeners

Marcusenius ghesquierei (Poll 1945)    in honor of Belgian entomologist Jean Ghesquière, who collected type

Marcusenius greshoffii (Schilthuis 1891)    in honor of Anton Greshoff (1856-1905), Dutch trader and collector who presented several species from the Congo to the Zoological Museum of Utrecht University, including type of this one

Marcusenius intermedius Pellegrin 1924    Pellegrin believed this species to be a “forme intermediaire” between Marcusenius and Gnathonemus

Marcusenius kainjii Lewis 1974    of Lake Kainji, an artificial lake in lower Niger River, Nigeria, where only known specimen was collected

Marcusenius kaninginii Kisekelwa, Boden, Snoeks & Vreven 2016    in honor of Boniface Kaningini Mwenyimali, Director of UERHA (Unité d’Enseignement et de Recherche en Hydrobiologie Appliquée) and Rector of Institut supérieur pédagogique de Bukavu (Democratic Republic of the Congo); he “supported in various ways” the sampling expeditions of the first author in the Lowa River Basin (DCR), where this species occurs

Marcusenius krameri Maake, Gon & Swartz 2014    in honor of Bernd Kramer, Zoological Institute of the University of Regensburg, Germany, for his contributions to the systematics of southern African mormyrids

Marcusenius kutuensis (Boulenger 1899)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Kutu Island, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), type locality

Marcusenius leopoldianus (Boulenger 1899)    anus, belonging to: Lake Leopold (now Lake Mai-Ndombe), Democratic Republic of the Congo, type locality

Marcusenius livingstonii (Boulenger 1899)    in honor of Charles Livingstone (1821-1873, brother of missionary and explorer David Livingstone), who collected type

Marcusenius lucombesi Maake, Gon & Swartz 2014    of Lucombe River, a tributary of the Ruvuma River system in the Niassa Game Reserve, Mozambique, type locality

Marcusenius macrolepidotus (Peters 1852)    macro-, large; lepidotus, scaled, i.e., an exceptionally large-scaled mormyrid when discovered (no longer holds record in this regard)

Marcusenius macrophthalmus (Pellegrin 1924)    macro-, large; ophthalmus, referring to enormous (“énorme”) eye, almost twice length of snout and included just 2.66 times in length of head

Marcusenius mento (Boulenger 1890)    mentum, chin, which is “strongly swollen”

Marcusenius meronai Bigorne & Paugy 1990    in honor of the authors’ friend and colleague, fish ecologist Bernard de Merona

Marcusenius monteiri (Günther 1873)    in honor of Portuguese entomologist Joachim J. Monteiro (1833-1878), who collected type

Marcusenius moorii (Günther 1867)    in honor of Thomas John Moore (1824-1892), curator, Free Public Museum of Liverpool, who loaned to Günther specimens collected by R. B. N. Walker in Gabon

Marcusenius ntemensis (Pellegrin 1927)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Ntem River, Cameroon, type locality

Marcusenius pongolensis (Fowler 1934)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Pongola River at Paulpietersburg district (South Africa), type locality

Marcusenius sanagaensis Boden, Teugels & Hopkins 1997    ensis, suffix denoting place: Sanaga River basin (Cameroon), type locality

Marcusenius schilthuisiae (Boulenger 1899)    in honor of Louise Schilthuis, curator at the Museum of Zoology at the University of Utrecht, who had identified this species in 1891 under the name Mormyrus grandisquamis Peters 1876 (=M. moorii)

Marcusenius senegalensis (Steindachner 1870)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Senegal (Taoué and Dagana), type locality

Marcusenius stanleyanus (Boulenger 1897)    anus, belonging to: Stanley (Boyoma) Falls, type locality

Marcusenius thomasi (Boulenger 1916)    in honor of anthropologist Northcote W. Thomas, who collected type

Marcusenius ussheri (Günther 1867)    in honor of H. T. Ussher, Deputy Assistant Commissary-General, Lagos, on the Bossumprah River, Gold Coast (now Ghana), who collected type

Marcusenius victoriae (Worthington 1929)    of Lake Victoria, one of the type localities

Mormyrops Müller 1843    opsis, relating to sight and appearance, presumably referring to similarity or affinity to Mormyrus

Mormyrops anguilloides (Linnaeus 1758)    oides, having form of: anguilla, eel, probably referring to elongate shape compared to carp-like shape of Marcusenius cyprinoides

Mormyrops attenuatus Boulenger 1898    thin or tapered, referring to elongate shape, in which body height is contained in 8.5 times the body length

Mormyrops batesianus Boulenger 1909    anus, belonging to: George Latimer Bates (1863-1940), Cameroon farmer and ornithologist who collected specimens for the Natural History Museum (London), including type of this species

Mormyrops breviceps Steindachner 1894    brevis, short; ceps, head, referring to low, compressed and short head, slightly more than two times longer than high

Mormyrops caballus Pellegrin 1927     horse, referring to equine shape of snout

Mormyrops citernii Vinciguerra 1912    in honor of Capt. Carlo Citerni, who led the expedition to mark the boundary between Italian Somalia and Ethiopia in 1910-1911, during which type was collected

Mormyrops curtus Boulenger 1899     short, only species in genus in which body height is contained in less than five times the body length

Mormyrops engystoma Boulenger 1898    engys, near; stoma, mouth, possibly referring to snout slightly exceeding (and therefore “near”) mouth

Mormyrops furcidens Pellegrin 1900    furcatus, forked; dens, teeth, referring to deeply indented teeth, which resemble a fork with nine branches

Mormyrops intermedius Vinciguerra 1928    allusion not explained, presumably intermediate in form between M. attenuatus, M. furcidens, M. mariae and M. microstoma

Mormyrops lineolatus Boulenger 1898    lined, referring to dark longitudinal lines on sides of body

Mormyrops mariae (Schilthuis 1891)    matronym not identified, nor can identity be inferred from available evidence (is this the same woman honored under Marcusenius annamariae?)

Mormyrops masuianus Boulenger 1898    anus, belonging to: Lt. Theodore Masui, secretary-general of the Brussels-Tervueren Exhibition to the Congo

Mormyrops microstoma Boulenger 1898    micro– small; stoma, mouth, in which width is length of snout

Mormyrops nigricans Boulenger 1899    blackish, referring to dorsal coloration

Mormyrops oudoti Daget 1954    in honor of M. (Monsieur) Oudot, who obtained type and several other “rare and interesting species” (translation) while shopping in Bamako, Mali, on the Niger River

Mormyrops parvus Boulenger 1899     little, allusion not evident, perhaps referring to very small (“trés petit”) eyes

Mormyrops sirenoides Boulenger 1898    oides, having form of: siren, an aquatic salamander, derived from seiren, a mythological snake with wings, allusion not explained, probably referring to its aquatic salamander-like shape

Mormyrus Linnaeus 1758    according to Cuvier (M’Murtrie, trans.), Greek name of a “littoral fish variously coloured,” probably Striped Sea Bream, Lithognathus mormyrus (Linnaeus 1758), “applied by Linnaeus, not very happily, to fresh-water fishes of a uniform hue”

Mormyrus bernhardi Pellegrin 1926    in honor R. P. Bernhard, who collected type near Nairobi, Kenya

Mormyrus caballus Boulenger 1898     horse, probably referring to equine shape of head

Mormyrus casalis Vinciguerra 1922    –is, genitive suffix: in memory of Capt. Ugo Casale, a resident of Afgoi, Somalia, who collected type and sent it to the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova

Mormyrus caschive Linnaeus 1758    Arabian vernacular for Mormyrops anguilloides, once thought to be a senior synonym of this species

Mormyrus cyaneus Roberts & Stewart 1976    blue, referring to uniformly light blue coloration on body and dark- or blackish-blue head

Mormyrus felixi Pellegrin 1939    in honor of French botanist and explorer Henri Jacques-Félix (1907-2008), who collected type in Cameroon

Mormyrus goheeni Fowler 1919    in honor of medical missionary S. M. E. Goheen, first person to collect fishes in Liberia

Mormyrus hasselquistii Valenciennes 1847    in honor of Swedish naturalist Fredric Hasselquist (1722-1752), the first to describe a mormyrid (Mormyrus caschive), but in a pre-Linnaean publication (1757)

Mormyrus hildebrandti Peters 1882    in honor of explorer Johannes Maria Hildebrandt (1847-1881), who collected type

Mormyrus iriodes Roberts & Stewart 1976    oides, having the form of: iridis, rainbow, referring to delicate pinkish, violaceous and bluish-green reflections on live specimens

Mormyrus kannume Forsskål 1775    Arabic name for this fish

Mormyrus lacerda Castelnau 1861     in honor of the Portuguese explorer and astronomer Francisco José Maria de Lacerda (d. 1798)

Mormyrus longirostris Peters 1852    longus, long; rostris, snout, referring to produced snout, as long as or slightly shorter than postocular part of head

Mormyrus macrocephalus Worthington 1929    macro-, long; cephalus, head, referring to longer head compared to M. hasselquistii

Mormyrus macrophthalmus Günther 1866    macro-, large; opthalmos, eye, referring to large eye, 2/7 length of head

Mormyrus niloticus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)    icus, belonging to: Nile River (described from upper Egypt)

Mormyrus ovis Boulenger 1898    sheep, referring to how head (one quarter longer than high in profile and bent sharply higher) resembles a sheep’s

Mormyrus rume Valenciennes 1847     vernacular used by Senegalese fishermen for this species

Mormyrus subundulatus Roberts 1989    sub, less; undulatus, wavy, referring to much less pronounced EOD (electric organ discharge) wave form compared to sympatric M. rume

Mormyrus tapirus Pappenheim 1905    allusion not explained, presumably referring to tapir-like snout

Mormyrus tenuirostris Peters 1882     tenuis, thin; rostris, snout, referring to attenuate snout

Mormyrus thomasi Pellegrin 1938    in honor of the late Jean Thomas, who collected for the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris) in French Equatorial Africa, and who collected type during his last expedition in 1929-1930

Mormyrus zanclirostris Günther 1867    etymology not explained, possibly referring to resemblance of rostris, snout, to that of the Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus

Myomyrus Boulenger 1898    etymology not explained, perhaps myos, mouse, possibly referring to large (i.e., mouse-like) incisors; –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see above)

Myomyrus macrodon Boulenger 1898    macro-, large; odon, teeth, presumably referring to median pair of large incisor-shaped teeth

Myomyrus macrops Boulenger 1914    macro-, large; ops, referring to larger eye compared to M. macrodon, ⅔ length of snout or infraorbital width

Myomyrus pharao Poll & Taverne 1967    referring to short barbel that adorns chin, presumably similar to false beard of an Egyptian pharaoh

Paramormyrops Taverne, Thys van den Audenaerde & Heymer 1977    para-, near, referring to resemblance in general form of P. gabonensis to Mormyrops but with shorter body and head

Paramormyrops batesii (Boulenger 1906)    in honor of George Latimer Bates (1863-1940), farmer and ornithologist who lived in Cameroon and collected specimens for the Natural History Museum (London), including type of this species

Paramormyrops curvifrons (Taverne, Thys van den Audenaerde, Heymer & Géry 1977)    curvus, bent; frons, front, referring to slightly concave profile of head

Paramormyrops gabonensis Taverne, Thys van den Audenaerde & Heymer 1977    ensis, suffix denoting place: Gabon, type locality and only country where it occurs

Paramormyrops hopkinsi (Taverne & Thys van den Audenaerde 1985)    in honor of neurobiologist and mormyrid expert Carl D. Hopkins, who collected type in 1975

Paramormyrops jacksoni (Poll 1967)     in honor of Peter B. N. Jackson, author of Fishes of Northern Rhodesia (1961)

Paramormyrops kingsleyae kingsleyae (Günther 1896)    in honor of writer and explorer Mary Henrietta Kingsley (1862-1900), who collected type

Paramormyrops kingsleyae eburneensis Bigorne 1991    ensis, suffix denoting place: eburn, ivory, referring to type locality in the Ivory Coast

Paramormyrops longicaudatus (Taverne, Thys van den Audenaerde, Heymer & Géry 1977)    longus, long; caudatus, tailed, referring to elongate caudal peduncle

Pollimyrus Taverne 1971    in honor of Taverne’s professor and friend, Belgian ichthyologist Max Poll (1908-1991); –myrus, conventional termination for generic names of elephantfishes, derived from Mormyrus (see above)

Pollimyrus adspersus (Günther 1866)    besprinkled, referring to brown dots all over body

Pollimyrus brevis (Boulenger 1913)     short, referring to short body compared to Marcusenius ihuysi (=Brevimyrus niger)

Pollimyrus castelnaui (Boulenger 1911)    in honor of French naturalist Francis de Castelnau (1810-1880), who described a number of new fishes from Lake Ngami (Bechuanaland, now Botswana), this species’ type locality

Pollimyrus cuandoensis Kramer, van der Bank & Wink 2013    –ensis, suffix denoting place: Kwando (Cuando) River, Namibia, only known area of occurrence

Pollimyrus isidori isidori (Valenciennes 1847)    in honor of zoologist Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1805-1861), whose collection supplied type

Pollimyrus isidori fasciaticeps (Boulenger 1920)    fascia, stripe; ceps, head, referring to brown stripe on head

Pollimyrus isidori osborni (Nichols & Griscom 1917)    in honor of Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935), President of the American Museum of Natural History (New York), whose “continuing and inspiring support” led to the “great success” of the authors’ Congo Expedition

Pollimyrus maculipinnis (Nichols & La Monte 1934)    maculatus, spotted; pinnis, fin, referring to “vague, blackish blotch” in front of dorsal and anal fins and at base of caudal fin

Pollimyrus marianne Kramer, van der Bank, Flint, Sauer-Gürth & Wink 2003    in honor of Marianne Elfriede Kramer, mother of senior author

Pollimyrus nigricans (Boulenger 1906)    blackish, referring to uniform blackish brown coloration

Pollimyrus nigripinnis (Boulenger 1899)    niger, black; pinnis, fin, referring to blackish fins

Pollimyrus pedunculatus (David & Poll 1937)    peduncle, referring to long caudal peduncle of holotype, its depth 25% of its length (specimens from other locations have shorter, deeper peduncles) 

Pollimyrus petherici (Boulenger 1898)    in honor of Welsh trader and explorer John Petherick (1813-1882), who collected type

Pollimyrus petricolus (Daget 1954)    petra, rock; –colus, living among, referring to capture of type specimens among falls and rocky bottoms

Pollimyrus plagiostoma (Boulenger 1898)    plagio, oblique; stoma, mouth, possibly referring to how mouth is located at an angle below front edge of eye

Pollimyrus pulverulentus (Boulenger 1899)    pulvereus, dusty; lenticula, freckle, probably referring to black speckles

Pollimyrus schreyeni Poll 1972    in honor of Andre Schreyen, “collaborateur” of aquarium fish exporter Pierre Brichard, who collected type

Pollimyrus stappersii stappersii (Boulenger 1915)    in honor of Louis Stappers of the Belgian government, who led an expedition to Lakes Tanganyika and Moero in 1911-1913 and collected type

Pollimyrus stappersii kapangae (David 1935)    of Katanga (also spelled Kapanga), now called Shaba, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), type locality

Pollimyrus tumifrons (Boulenger 1902)    tumis, a swelling; frons, front, probably referring to rounded snout, which strongly projects beyond mouth

Stomatorhinus Boulenger 1898    stomato-, mouth; rhinos, nose or nostril, referring to posterior nostrils close to rictus of mouth (in all other mormyrid genera posterior nostrils are remote from mouth)

Stomatorhinus ater Pellegrin 1924    black, presumably referring to uniform dark brown coloration of body and fins

Stomatorhinus corneti Boulenger 1899    in honor of Belgian naturalist M. J. Cornet, for his work on the fauna and geology of the Congo

Stomatorhinus fuliginosus Poll 1941    sooty, probably referring to uniformly brown coloration of body and fins

Stomatorhinus humilior Boulenger 1899    lower or humbler, allusion not evident, perhaps referring to its being smallest species in genus (8 cm TL) known to Boulenger

Stomatorhinus ivindoensis Sullivan & Hopkins 2005    ensis, suffix denoting place: Ivindo River of Gabon, where it is endemic

Stomatorhinus kununguensis Poll 1945    –ensis, suffix denoting place: Kunungu, Congo River basin, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), type locality

Stomatorhinus microps Boulenger 1898    micro-, small; ops, eye, referring to extremely small eye

Stomatorhinus patrizii Vinciguerra 1928    in honor of Italian entomologist Saverio Patrizi (1902-1957), who collected type, and for donating specimens from his Congo expedition to the Museum Civico di Storia Naturale de Genova

Stomatorhinus polli Matthes 1964    in honor of “le grand” ichthyologist Max Poll (1908-1991), for his guidance of and generous assistance to Matthes’ work

Stomatorhinus polylepis Boulenger 1899    poly, many; lepis, scale, referring to higher number of scales on caudal peduncle (20-22) compared to congeners examined by Boulenger

Stomatorhinus puncticulatus Boulenger 1899    dotted, referring to purplish brown dots over body

Stomatorhinus schoutedeni Poll 1945    in honor of zoologist Henri Schouteden (1881-1972), who collected many new species in the Belgian Congo, including this one

Stomatorhinus walkeri (Günther 1867)    in honor of Robert Bruce Napoleon Walker (1832-1901), trader and explorer, Royal Geographical Society, who collected type


Petrocephalus Marcusen 1854    petro, stone; cephalus, head, Latin translation of Arabic vernacular ras el hagar (“stonehead”), possibly referring to short, well-rounded (i.e., stone-like) snout

Petrocephalus ansorgii Boulenger 1903    in honor of explorer William John Ansorge (1850-1913), who collected type

Petrocephalus arnegardi Lavoué & Sullivan 2014    in honor of friend and colleague Matthew E. Arnegard, for contributions to the study of mormyrid evolution and diversification; in addition, Arnegard is a member of the “Mintotom Team” of researchers associated with the Carl D. Hopkins Laboratory (Cornell University), who have conducted field studies on African weakly electric fishes for more than 15 years (Mintotom is the plural form of the word for mormyrid fish in the Fang language of West Central Africa)

Petrocephalus balayi Sauvage 1883    in honor of explorer Noel Eugene Balay, who collected type

Petrocephalus bane bane (Lacepède 1803)     Arabic name for this species

Petrocephalus bane comoensis de Merona 1979     –ensis, suffix denoting place: Comoé River, Gansé, Ivory Coast, type locality

Petrocephalus bane tchadensis Blache & Miton 1961    ensis, suffix denoting place: Tchad (French for Chad), referring to Lake Chad basin, type locality

Petrocephalus binotatus Pellegrin 1924    bi-, two; notatus, mark, probably referring to dark, round spot at top of dorsal fin and blackish crescents at base of tail

Petrocephalus boboto Lavoué & Sullivan 2014    word in Lingala, language spoken at type locality, meaning “peace,” alluding to the right of all people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to live in peace and safety

Petrocephalus bovei bovei (Valenciennes 1847)    in honor of M. Bové (“M” likely abbreviating “Monsieur” and not his first name), who supplied type material to the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris)

Petrocephalus bovei guineensis Reizer, Mattei & Chevalier 1973    ensis, suffix denoting place: Guinean region of west Africa, where it is endemic to coastal rivers

Petrocephalus catostoma (Günther 1866)    cato-, low; stoma, mouth, probably referring to how cleft of mouth is at lower side of snout

Petrocephalus christyi Boulenger 1920    in honor of Cuthbert Christy (1863-1932), explorer and naturalist, who collected type

Petrocephalus congicus David & Poll 1937    of the Congo River basin of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), where it is endemic

Petrocephalus cunganus Boulenger 1910    anus, belonging to: cunga, referring to Quanza River at Cunga, Angola, type locality

Petrocephalus degeni Boulenger 1906    in honor of ornithologist Edward Degen (1852-1923), who “utilized his leisure” while serving as an assistant to Prof. E. A. Minchin in Uganda and collected type

Petrocephalus frieli Lavoué 2012    in honor of John P. Friel, curator, Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV), for his contribution to African ichthyology and for his care of the large collection of African electric fishes deposited at CUMV; he also helped collect type

Petrocephalus gliroides (Vinciguerra 1897)    oides, having form of: gliris, doormouse, allusion not explained but with some imagination fish can be said to resemble a European doormouse

Petrocephalus grandoculis Boulenger 1920     grand, large; oculis, eye, diameter of which is included three times in the head length and equal to interocular in width

Petrocephalus guttatus Fowler 1936    spotted, referring to conspicuous close-set blackish-brown spots on head and body, one to each scale on trunk and tail

Petrocephalus haullevillii Boulenger 1912    in honor of Alphonse de Haulleville (1860-1938), director, Musée du Congo belge à Tervuren

Petrocephalus hutereaui (Boulenger 1913)    in honor of Armand Hutereau (1875-1914), head of a Belgian ethnographic mission to the Congo, who supplied this “beautiful little fish” (translation)

Petrocephalus keatingii Boulenger 1901    in honor of Henry Porringer Keatinge, Director of the Government School of Medicine, Cairo

Petrocephalus leo Lavoué 2016    named after Lavoué’s son, Léo

Petrocephalus levequei Bigorne & Paugy 1990    in honor of Christian Lévêque, who initiated a research program on the freshwater fishes of west Africa

Petrocephalus longianalis Kramer, Bills, Skelton & Wink 2012    longus, long; analis, anal, referring to higher number of anal fin rays (30-35) compared to congeners covered in authors’ present study

Petrocephalus longicapitis Kramer, Bills, Skelton & Wink 2012      longus; long; capit, head, referring to long head length (25.8-29.6% of SL)

Petrocephalus magnitrunci Kramer, Bills, Skelton & Wink 2012    magnus, great; truncus, trunk, i.e., body, referring to oval, egg-like shape of body

Petrocephalus magnoculis Kramer, Bills, Skelton & Wink 2012     magnus, great; oculis, eye, referring to large eye diameter (25.9-32.9% of head length)

Petrocephalus mbossou Lavoué, Sullivan & Arnegard 2010    vernacular for Petrocephalus in the Lingala language, Congo River basin

Petrocephalus microphthalmus Pellegrin 1908    micro-, small; ophthalmos, eye, referring to small eye, 21-24% head length

Petrocephalus odzalaensis Lavoué, Sullivan & Arnegard 2010     –ensis, suffix denoting place: Odzala National Park (Republic of the Congo), type locality

Petrocephalus okavangensis Kramer, Bills, Skelton & Wink 2012    –ensis, suffix denoting place: Okavango River drainage, Botswana and Namibia, where it is endemic

Petrocephalus pallidomaculatus Bigorne & Paugy 1990    pallid, pale; maculatus, spotted, referring to barely visible sub-dorsal spot

Petrocephalus pellegrini Poll 1941    in honor of the eminent French ichthyologist Jacques Pellegrin (1873-1944), author of Poissons des eaux douces de l’Afrique occidentale

Petrocephalus petersi Kramer, Bills, Skelton & Wink 2012    in honor of herpetologist-explorer Wilhelm Peters (1815-1883), who conducted the first major fish survey of the lower Zambezi region (1842-1848) and discovered many endemics and other more-widespread species

Petrocephalus pulsivertens Lavoué, Sullivan & Arnegard 2010    pulsus, impulse or beating; vertere, to turn or exchange, referring to inverted appearance of its EOD (electric organ discharge) waveform, unique among all Petrocephalus recorded to date

Petrocephalus sauvagii (Boulenger 1887)    in honor of paleontologist Henri Émile Sauvage (1842-1917), “who has added much to our knowledge of the fishes of tropical Africa”

Petrocephalus schoutedeni Poll 1954    in honor of zoologist Henri Schouteden (1881-1972), who collected many new species in the Belgian Congo, for the “tireless work he displayed during his long career in the service of science” (translation)

Petrocephalus similis Lavoué 2011     similar, referring to resemblance with P. sullivani

Petrocephalus simus Sauvage 1879    blunt-nosed, referring to obliquely truncated snout

Petrocephalus soudanensis Bigorne & Paugy 1990    ensis, suffix denoting place: Sudan, referring to its distribution

Petrocephalus squalostoma (Boulenger 1915)    etymology not explained, presumably squalidus, without ornament, i.e., plain or non-descript; stoma, mouth, possibly referring to more-inferior mouth compared to similar Marcusenius (=Pollimyrus) adspersus

Petrocephalus steindachneri Fowler 1958    in honor of Austrian ichthyologist Franz Steindachner (1834-1919), who described this mormyrid in 1914 but used a preoccupied name, P. affinis Sauvage 1879 (=Stomatorhinus walkeri)

Petrocephalus stuhlmanni Boulenger 1909    in honor of Franz Ludwig Stuhlmann (1863-1928), German Colonial Service, who collected many plants and animals in East Africa, including type of this species

Petrocephalus sullivani Lavoué, Hopkins & Kamdem Toham 2004    in honor of colleague and friend John P. Sullivan, for his contributions to mormyrid systematics

Petrocephalus tanensis Whitehead & Greenwood 1959    ensis, suffix denoting place: Tana River, Kenya, type locality

Petrocephalus tenuicauda (Steindachner 1894)    tenuis, slender; cauda, caudal fin, referring to long, slender caudal peduncle

Petrocephalus valentini Lavoué, Sullivan & Arnegard 2010    in honor of Valentin Mbossi, pinassier [boatman] extraordinaire at Odzala National Park (Republic of the Congo), for field assistance, which is “as important as laboratory bench work and analysis when it comes to investigations of electric fish taxonomy, behavior and evolution” (first name was selected to avoid confusion with P. mbossou)

Petrocephalus wesselsi Kramer & van der Bank 2000    in honor of Pierre Wessels (Johannesburg), late participant of the authors’ expeditions to Caprivi (Namibia), “nature conservationist and good friend”

Petrocephalus zakoni Lavoué, Sullivan & Arnegard 2010    in honor of Harold H. Zakon, for his many contributions to neuroethology, inspiring “a new area of research on genes that underlie electrolocation and electrical communication in gymnotiform and mormyroid fishes”


Gymnarchus Cuvier 1829     gymno-, naked; archus, anus, referring to absence of fins behind anus and under tail

Gymnarchus niloticus Cuvier 1829     icus, belonging to: Nile River (described from a drawing of a specimen from the Nile)