Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Polypterus bichir bichir likes shallow water and will often lie basking fo hours near the surface, but when swimming the fish is very pliant, and can turn and twist like an eel (Ref. 4904). The eggs are deposited in weeds, where the adult fish guards the eggs and young (Ref. 36900). It feeds on bottom-feeding fish (Ref. 36900) and is essentially piscivorous (Ref. 367).
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Distribution

Africa: Nile River, Lake Turkana and Omo River; Lake Chad, Chari River and Logone River; Senegal River, Gambia River, Geba River, Volta River, Niger, Benoue River and Ouémé River. Previously, 2 subspecies were recognized: Polypterus bichir bichir and Polypterus bichir lapradei.
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Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 1418; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 13 - 16; Vertebrae: 61 - 62
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Size

Max. size

74.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 2835)); max. published weight: 2,650 g (Ref. 367)
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Diagnostic Description

Subcylindrical body; its depth 6.8-10.3 times in its length; head length 4.1-5.5 times in body length (Ref. 2835). Head width 1.7-2.3 times in head length, eye-diameter 8.5-13.0 times in head length (Ref. 2835). Lower jaw slightly longer than upper jaw (Ref. 2835, Ref. 42908). Number of dorsal finlets: 14-18 (Ref. 42908); dorsal finlets overlapping when folded down (Ref. 31439). Number of branched dorsal and caudal rays: 19-21 (Ref. 367). Pectoral fin reaching first dorsal spine (Ref. 367). Ganoid scales (Ref. 36900, Ref. 42904): 63-70 lateral line scales; 46-54 scales around body; 11-16 predorsal scales (Ref. 2835, Ref. 42908). Lateral line scales are notched on the posterior border (Ref. 2835). The color is olive, but white on the ventral side, with three darker longitudinal bands on the lateral side, which are more visible in young than adults; pectoral and pelvic fins have greenish and yellowish transversal bands (Ref. 367, Ref. 2835).
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Migration

Potamodromous. Migrating within streams, migratory in rivers, e.g. Saliminus, Moxostoma, Labeo. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Inhabits lakes. Feeds mainly on fish.
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; aquarium: public aquariums
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Wikipedia

Polypterus bichir

Polypterus bichir, the Nile bichir, is a fish which lives in the Nile and some of its tributaries in Africa. It is a dark grayish color on the top, with a dark vertical marking and bands on the flank. This marking is more prominent on juveniles, and fades as the fish grows.

References[edit]

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