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South American Lungfishes

Lepidosirenidae

James Chang

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South American Lungfish

The South American Lungfish (Lepidosiren Paradoxa) is a freshwater airbreathing fish of the family Lepidosirenidae (2). This particular species of lungfish are native to the South American rivers of the Amazon, preferably in swamps and shallow waters with dense vegetation (4, 5). As juveniles the South American Lungfish are equipped with temporary gills, but as they mature they become solely dependent on breathing air and will drown if held underwater for too long(2). The Lungfish are named for their single air breathing lung. Their appearance is eel-like with pectoral fins which are long and string-like; similar to lobefins, the lungfish is ancestrally related to four-footed land animals (2,3).

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