Kampango

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Kampango
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Siluriformes
Family: Bagridae
Genus: Bagrus
Species: B. meridionalis
Binomial name
Bagrus meridionalis
Günther, 1894

The kampango or kampoyo, Bagrus meridionalis, is a large, territorial and predatory bagrid catfish endemic to Lake Malawi, occurring from the lower reaches of rivers to the deepest habitable parts of the lake.

A nocturnal predator, it feeds largely on smaller demersal Malawi Cichlids. Juveniles mainly feed on trophic eggs released by the female, and when slightly older, the male helps the young in searching for invertebrates in and around the nesting site, which both parents will defend. Some cichlid species release their young on the perimeter of the kampango nest site, which are then afforded protection from other predators by the presence of the large catfish.

It is inquisitive and will approach divers entering its territory, particularly when breeding.

Kampango are highly prized as an eating fish, and are caught using nets and more commonly line caught, mainly in deep water around Cape Maclear, Salima, Mbenje Island, and Nkhata Bay.

Fresh kampango are usually filleted and deep fried, barbecued, or cooked with tomato and onion as traditional Malawian dish, served with nsima. They are threatened by overfishing.

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