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Zimbabwe is endowed with a rich diversity of fish species. The bulldog fish is a member of the Mormyridae family, a group of freshwater fish endemic to African waters, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The bulldog fish is a comparatively small fish species which can achieve lengths of up to 30 centimeters.
It got its name due to its extended inferior jaw, which resembles that of a Bulldog (Dog breed).

The bulldog fish is one of the amazing and intriguing fish species fished within the Sebakwe water bodies in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe. It possesses unique skills that enable it to detect prey through producing a “song”. “Mbuta” as termed by Shona speaking people is best identified by brown and gray gleaming scales and its stout body which resembles a
dolphin. This enables it to perfectly camouflage in the murky depths.
Marcusenius macrolepidotus is a solitary fish species which prefers lentic waters and abundant vegetation. These small fish are mostly seen in numbers during mating seasons. The Bulldog/ Mbuta itʼs an ambush predatory fish species which uses its electric organs to
detect prey and navigate its surroundings.
The bulldog fish feeds on small fish, crustaceans, and insects. The song like sound they produce are said to aid in communications with other Bulldog fish.
For the community of fishers around Sebakwe, the Bulldog fish holds immerse value as it is a commercially significant species. Despite being tiny, the Bulldog is said to dominate the catches of Sebakwe Commercial fishers.
When it comes to consumption and how best the fish can be prepared, there is no better place to seek that information other than asking Sebakwe residents. The fish is said to be scrumptious when smoked on fire or deep fried. A number of youths have been seen eating fried Mbuta fish with different starch meals like sadza or rice.
The addition of Mbuta in meals reveals that it is a highly appreciated fish species within the communities considering that it only grows up to 30centimeters with less flesh to enjoy. Most of the fish catches in Sebakwe indicate that Bulldog fish species has one of the highest numbers.

The graph shows that the Bulldog is amongst the top five fish species caught in Sebakwe. Bulldog fish are commercially important in the fish business of Sebakwe fisheries due to its frequency and high numbers in the casted gillnets.
It is therefore safe to describe and enlist the Mbuta/Bulldog (Marcusenius macrolepidotus) as a rare and intriguing fish species in Southern African waters due to its various traits that entail being a preferable food source and fish with unique preying abilities.


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