The marbled lungfish, Protopterus aethiopicus, is a lungfish of the family Protopteridae. Also known as the leopard lungfish, it is found in Africa. At 133 billion base pairs it has the largest known genome of any vertebrate and one of the largest of any organism on Earth, along with Polychaos dubium and Paris japonica at 670 billion and 150 billion, respectively.
The marbled lungfish is smooth, elongated, and cylindrical with deeply embedded scales. The tail is very long and tapers at the end. They can reach a length of up to 200 cm. The pectoral and pelvic fins are also very long and thin, almost spaghetti-like. The newly hatched young have branched external gills much like those of newts. After 2 to 3 months the young transform (called metamorphosis) into the adult form, losing the external gills for gill openings. These fish have a yellowish gray or pinkish toned ground color with dark slate-gray splotches, creating a marbling or leopard effect over the body and fins. The color pattern is darker along the top and lighter below.
Protopterus aethiopicus is found in the African countries of Tanzania, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda and the Sudan. Specifically, it lives in the Nile River and in lakes such as Albert, Edward, Tanganyika, Victoria, Nabugabo, No and Kyoga.
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