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African catfish of the genus Synodontis vary in their habits, from inverted plankton eaters to normally oriented benthos eaters. Haemoglobin concentrations and red cell counts vary between populations of one species, and between species of differing habits. Synodontis schall from the well-aerated White Nile had lower haemoglobin concentrations than members of the same species from Lake Kainji, Nigeria. Synodontis membranaceus, an inverted plankton eater, had lower haemoglobin concentrations than the bottom dwelling S. filamentosus and S. nigrita. Species with intermediate habits, such as S. batensoda and S. ocellifer had intermediate concentrations of haemoglobin.

It is suggested that these differences in haemoglobin concentration are a result of differing habits. Those species that enter poorly aerated water are stimulated to make more haemoglobin.