Synodontis ocellifer, known as the ocellated synodontis, is a species of upside-down catfish native to the rivers of northern and western Africa. It has been reported in 10 countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal. It was first described by Belgian-British zoologist George Albert Boulenger in 1900, from specimens collected in Kunchow Creek, in Gambia. The species name ocellifer comes from the Latin word ocellus, meaning “eye”, and the Latin word ifer, meaning “to carry”, which refers to the black spots, possibly with white centers found on the sides.
In the wild, the species has been found in the basins of the Chad River, Niger River, Volta River, Senegal River, and the Gambia River. The reproductive habits of most of the species of Synodontis are not known, beyond some instances of obtaining egg counts from gravid females. Spawning likely occurs during the flooding season between July and October, and pairs swim in unison during spawning. As a whole, species of Synodontis are omnivores, consuming insect larvae, algae, gastropods, bivalves, sponges, crustaceans, and the eggs of other fishes. The growth rate is rapid in the first year, then slows down as the fish age.