Native Fish Species Of Sudan

A freshly caught Bayad.
A freshly caught Bayad.

Sudan is located in the northern portion of Africa and shares borders with several countries, including Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, and Chad. Sudan has a unique geography which includes features such as deserts, mountains, and the Nile River which dissects the region between east and west. Due to its proximity to the Red Sea as well as the influence of the Nile Sudan is home to a variety of native fish species


The majority of fish native to the Sudan are classified as catfish, a vast group of species which take their names from the presence of distinctive barbels which resemble cats' whiskers. One of the nation’s most plentiful fish, the Wahrindi is known as an upside down catfish which lives mainly in Lake Nubia. This species has managed to flourish in the challenging North African environment partially due to its ability to adapt to changing habitats and food sources. Its chief characteristics include bony spines on its fins and the ability to make loud grunting sounds.

Nile Catfish

The Nile Catfish, also known as a squeaker, is another so called "upside down catfish". It thrives in marshy areas, slow moving waters, as well as in the White and Blue Nile Rivers. As an omnivore this fish feeds on a variety of insects, plankton, and algae. The Nile Catfish is usually blue/grey or silver/green in color with a black belly and is prized as a popular aquarium fish.


The species known as the Mandi is characterized by a bony head, and its three pairs of barbels that appear similar to whiskers. Although it’s back is usually a shade of grey/green this North African fish has a white underbelly and reddish tips on its tail. Its diet consists of a variety of insects and plants from the bottom of the river. The Mandi is a much sought after food fish which is routinely harvested from the Nile.

African Butter Catfish

The African Butter Catfish, also referred to as the African glass catfish, butter barbel, or silver catfish, lives in large lakes, swamps, and ponds in countries such as Sudan. The physical characteristics of this species include a brown body, silvery whitish underside, and colorless fins. The African Butter Fish, which can live for six to seven years, feeds on various insects, roots, leaves, snails, other types of fish. Because it’s suitable for human consumption this catfish species is valuable as a food source for the local population. Even so, its also known as a popular aquarium fish.


The Bayad is an important food source fish which can be found in various African lakes and rivers, including the Nile. With four pairs of barbels this species can be either black or a shade of yellowish/green with a white underside. The Bayad has a lifespan of approximately seven to eight years. Another type of catfish, the Featherfin Squeaker, lives in lake areas such as the White Nile basin. The name of this nocturnal fish is derived not only from the way in which its fins resemble the feathers of birds, but also due to its ability to make noises as a means of communication with other members of the species. The Featherfin Squeaker is a valuable aquarium fish.

Other Fish Species

Among the other species of fish native to the Sudan are the Red Sea Stonefish, also called a Dwarf scorpionfish, which poses a threat to humans because of the venom contained in its dorsal spines. The Houndfish is a game fish which is often referred to as a crocodile needlefish. This particular species can reach a weight of ten pounds and measure five feet in length. Because of its ability to jump out of the water these fish are considered dangerous by many in the fishing industry. The Red Sea Bannerfish is easily recognizable from its colorful yellow, white, and black bands. This exotic fish is a very popular aquarium fish which can reach a length of seven inches.Another species commonly found in the Red Sea is the thin sand eel which flourishes in freshwater, marine, and tropical environments. This species can grow as long as 21 inches

Native Fish Species Of Sudan

Native Fish of SudanScientific Name
Synodontis schall
African Butter Catfish
Schilbe mystus
Nile Catfish
Synodontis batensoda
BayadBagrus bajad
Featherfin Squeaker
Synodontis eupterus
MandiSynodontis clarias
Thin Sand Eel
Yirrkala tenuis
Red Sea StonefishSynanceia nana
Tylosurus crocodilus
Red Sea BannerfishHeniochus intermedius

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