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Tigerfish can refer to fish from various families, and derives from official and colloquial associations of these with the tiger (Panthera tigris). However, the primary species designated by the name "tigerfish" are African and belong to the family Alestidae.
Several species belonging to the genus Hydrocynus of the family Alestidae are referred to as "tigerfish", and are particularly prized as game fish. These African fish are found in many rivers and lakes on the continent and are fierce predators with distinctive, proportionally large teeth.
The goliath tigerfish ( Hydrocynus goliath ) is among the most famous tigerfish. The largest one on record is said to have weighed 70 kg (154 pounds). It is found in the Congo River system and Lake Tanganyika and is the largest member of the family Alestidae. Another famous species, simply called the tigerfish ( Hydrocynus vittatus ), is commonly found in the southernly Okavango Delta, and the Zambezi River, and also in the two biggest lakes along the Zambezi, Lake Kariba which borders Zimbabwe and Zambia, and Cabora Bassa in Mozambique, and finally in the Jozini dam in South Africa. Both the goliath tigerfish and its smaller relative the tigerfish are found in Africa.
In the western gamefishing world, Hydrocynus vittatus is considered Africa's equivalent of the South American piranha,though it belongs to a completely different zoological family. Like the piranha, individual tigerfish have interlocking, razor-sharp teeth, along with streamlined, muscular bodies, and are extremely aggressive and capable predators who often hunt in groups.
The African tigerfish is the first freshwater fish recorded and confirmed to attack and catch birds in flight.
The name "tigerfish" has occasionally been used for a species of cichlid in the genus Rhamphochromis . The species is large, silver-coloured, and individuals typically have one or more black lines running the length of either flank. These fish are native to Lake Malawi in Africa. Like the other African tigerfish species, they are famed for possessing large, prominent teeth, and they are known to attack humans.
Several species of Coius (or Datnioides , depending on the taxonomic authority) have been referred to as "tigerfish", particularly in fishkeeping books and magazines. They are large, wide-bodied fish whose flanks are covered by vivid black stripes.
The large South American characins of the family Erythrinidae have also sometimes been called "tigerfish".
Characiformes is an order of ray-finned fish, comprising the characins and their allies. Grouped in 18 recognized families, more than 2000 different species are described, including the well-known piranha and tetras.
A piranha or piraña, a member of family Serrasalmidae, or a member of the subfamily Serrasalminae within the tetra family, Characidae in order Characiformes, is a freshwater fish that inhabits South American rivers, floodplains, lakes and reservoirs. Although often described as extremely predatory and mainly feeding on fish, their dietary habits vary extensively, and they will also take plant material, leading to their classification as omnivorous.
The Tanganyika sardine is known as kapenta or matemba in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Kapenta is really two species, both of which are small, planktivorous, pelagic, freshwater clupeid originating from Lake Tanganyika in Zambia. They form the major biomass of pelagic fish in Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi, swimming in large schools in the open lake, feeding on copepods and potentially jellyfish. Their major predators are four species of Lates which are also endemic to Lake Tanganyika, and are related to the Nile perch in Lake Victoria. All of these pelagic fish have suffered from overfishing in the last two decades.
African tetras are a group of characiform fish exclusively found in Africa. This family contains about 18 genera and 119 species. Among the best known members are the Congo tetra, and African tigerfish.
The dogtooth tunaGymnosarda unicolor, also known as white tuna, is a species of pelagic marine fish which belongs to the family Scombridae.
Pacu is a common name used to refer to several species of omnivorous South American freshwater serrasalmid fish that are related to the piranha. Pacu and piranha do not have similar teeth, the main difference being jaw alignment; piranha have pointed, razor-sharp teeth in a pronounced underbite, whereas pacu have squarer, straighter teeth, which are uncannily similar to human teeth, and a less severe underbite, or a slight overbite. Pacu, unlike piranha, mainly feed on plant material and not flesh or scales. Additionally, the pacu can reach much larger sizes than piranha, at up to 1.08 m (3.5 ft) in total length and 40 kg (88 lb) in weight.
The spotted-necked otter, or speckle-throated otter, is an otter native to sub-Saharan Africa.
The red-bellied piranha, also known as the red piranha, is a species of piranha native to South America, found in the Amazon, Paraguay, Paraná and Essequibo basins, as well as coastal rivers of northeastern Brazil. This fish is locally abundant in its freshwater habitat. They are omnivorous foragers and feed on insects, worms, crustaceans and fish. They are not a migratory species, but do travel to seek out conditions conducive to breeding and spawning during periods of increased rainfall. Red-bellied piranhas often travel in shoals as a predatory defense, but rarely exhibit group hunting behavior. Acoustic communication is common, and is sometimes exhibited along with aggressive behaviors. Through media influence, the red-bellied piranha has developed a reputation as a ferocious predator, though this is not actually the case. They are a popular aquarium fish.
Hepsetus odoe, the African pike characin, is a predatory freshwater characin belonging to the family Hepsetidae. It was formerly considered that there was a single species of Hepsetus pike characin but recent studies have led to the species being split and Hepsetus odoesensu stricto is the west African representative of the group.
Hydrocynus is a genus of large characin fish in the family Alestidae commonly called "tigerfish," endemic to the African continent. The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek ὕδωρ ("water") + κύων ("dog"). The genus contains five species, all popularly known as "African tigerfish" for their fierce predatory behaviour and other characteristics that make them excellent game fish. Hydrocynus are normally piscivorous, but H. vittatus is the only freshwater fish proven to prey on birds in flight.
The Lake Tanganyika sardine is a species of freshwater fish in the family Clupeidae which was endemic to Lake Tanganyika but which has now been introduced to other lakes in Africa as a food source. It is monotypic within the genus Limnothrissa. It and the Lake Tanganyika sprat are known collectively as kapenta.
Serranochromis is a genus of relatively large, robust cichlids from freshwater habitats in mainland Southern Africa, ranging as far north as DR Congo and Tanzania, with the highest species richness in the upper Zambezi, Okavango and Congo basins. They are typically known as largemouths or, especially among fishers, breams. Serranochromis are mostly piscivores and they are important in local fisheries.
Hydrocynus goliath, also known as the goliath tigerfish, giant tigerfish, or mbenga, is a very large African predatory freshwater fish of the family Alestidae.
Hydrocynus vittatus, the African tigerfish, tiervis or ngwesh is a predatory freshwater fish distributed throughout much of Africa. This fish is generally a piscivore but it has been observed leaping out of the water and catching barn swallows in flight.
Hydrocynus tanzaniae is a large African predatory freshwater fish.
Hydrocynus brevis, also known as the tigerfish, Nile tigerfish or Sahelian tigerfish, is a predatory freshwater fish distributed throughout Africa.
There are two major sources of fish in Uganda; one is from aquaculture, the other from fishing in rivers and lakes. Different types of fish flourish in different water sources. The waters of Uganda contain an impressive array of fish species—over 90 in all. This count does not include the Haplochromis complex, which itself is made up of more than 200 species. Fish that are the target of most commercial and subsistence exploitation include species of Lates, Oreochromis, the herring-like Alestes, the catfishes Bagrus and Clarias, Hydrocynus, the small pelagic “sardine” Rastrineobola, Protopterus (lungfish), and the haplochromines.
Hepsetus cuvieri, sometimes known as the African pike or Kafue pike characin, is a predatory freshwater fish found in southern Africa. This species was described in 1861 by the French naturalist Francis de Laporte de Castelnau.
Hydrocynus forskahlii, the elongate tigerfish, is a species of predatory characin from the family Alestidae which is found in northern and western Africa.
Alestes baremoze, the pebbly fish or silversides, is a species of characin fish from the freshwater systems of northern and western Africa. It has some importance as a commercially exploited food fish.