Vundu Catfish: A Monster of The African River

Vundu Catfish or mazunda fish is an air-breathing catfish species found in Africa. These river monsters are available in Niger, Senegal, Egypt, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo.

You can also see them in Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. These river monsters are also known as Sampa, Car, Landa, or Sarta Catfish. It is the largest freshwater species found in South Africa.

“Heterobranchus longifilis (Giant Catfish or Vundu)” by Arthur Chapman is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Mazunda fish is a species of freshwater catfish native to Africa. A French Zoologist Achille Valenciennes described this river monster species in 1840.

This majestic creature lives in large deep rivers between mainstream or deep pools and lakes. These species of catfish remain active most of the night. They love to eat invertebrates and insects when they are small. 

They also eat fish, and any other food, including other small vertebrates. They eat this food when they are large enough to eat.

Scientific Classification of Vundu Catfish

Common NameVundu
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassActinopterygii
OrderSiluriformes
FamilyClariidae
SubfamilyHeterobranchus
GenusH. longifilis

Mighty Vundu or Mazunda Fish of Africa

The Mazunda or Freshwater Catfish is not only the strongest but also the largest fish. It is the most fierce predator in the river. Its ability to use vibrations and its sense of smell is prodigious.

It uses this ability to hunt its prey. These monster catfish can live for 12 years or more. The majestic creature named Mazunda is almost like a blue catfish in shape.

But the mazunda fish is lighter than the blue catfish. Catfish can be 5 feet long and weigh up to 120 pounds. This majestic creature is a preserved fish species in Zimbabwe.

And so you have to release the fish after catching it. Mazunda is the largest freshwater fish in South Africa. These African catfish can grow up to 1.5m (5ft) in length and weigh up to 55kg (121lb).

The color of this giant creature can range from light to dark olive-brown on the dorsal surface. And from light brown to white in the abdomen from the center of the body.

Due to impaired vision, they rely on vibrations and smells in search of food. They love to remain in deep water for eating any available food they need.

They eat fish, small vertebrates, or even carcasses of small animals. They usually love to remain on the surface at night. These brown creatures look like a snake in deep river water.

But no doubt, they are not related to snakes. Unlike cold-blooded reptiles, the Hunderobranchus logfiles belong to the genus Fish. There are thousands of species of catfish around the world.

There are more than 3000 different species of catfish only in Africa. We should not use this number to determine the number of these creatures on earth.

The majestic creature named Mazunda fish is rare compared to other catfish species. These giant creatures are predators by nature. They can fight well against those trying to catch them.

They are strong, and their long, slender body enables them to dominate small fish in the river. You will see them in the Benue River, Volta River, Niger River, Gambia River, Senegal River, Lake Chad, and Omo River.

You will also see them in Congo River Basin, Lake Rukwa, Lake Kariba, Zambezi River, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Edward. This majestic creature often rests in the mud of marshy ponds for weeks.

They do it until the next rainy season in the dry season. They usually hide during the day and remain active at night. At night, this majestic creature is available in riverine areas in the food search.

These majestic creatures are solitary and live alone. Temporarily they pair up in the breeding season. They also love to split up soon after the female catfish lays eggs.

This giant creature may originate in sub-Saharan Africa, near the Nile basin. You may be able to see them in a darker shade on your back, and they may lighten as it reaches the front of your body.

The majestic creature named Mazunda fish is a demersal fish. Its large distributions are available in places such as Senegal and Ethiopia. Its distribution also has in the Nile region. 

You can distinguish it from other fish by its unique color. This large creature belongs to the wild because it needs plenty of space to swim and feed. Experts do not want to consider these species of fish as good pets.

Because capturing them with their large bodies would be cruel for this river monster. These majestic creatures are dangerous as they do not like unwanted company.

They will defend themselves and their territory by attacking any invaders. They can leave you with a few scratches and bruises, but nothing too serious.

Conservation Status of This Fish

The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has classified the mazunda catfish as a species of Least Concern. Mazunda is generally uncommon, though scientists do not consider it threatened.

But it declined due to water pollution and destruction of their natural habitat. These majestic creatures are becoming rare in their natural habitats. You will hardly see them in Lake Kariba, the rivers of Zimbabwe, and Uganda.

Excessive fishing has also changed its population size in recent years. If these issues do not resolve soon, this majestic species may face the dangers of extinction.

Conclusion

The Giant Vundu is a mysterious creature in the world. Some tribal people of Africa believe this river monster has supernatural power. It has enough power to kill a man. We have to save this creature of the river from extinction.