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PostSubject: Polypterus...   Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:19 pm

The Polypteridae are primitive, snake-like fish from Africa. They are predatory and essentially carnivorous, but largely opportunistic feeders. They are able to breathe air via a lung-like modification to their swim bladder, and can travel over land using their strong pelvic fins. For this reason, a tight-fitting lid is recommended for the aquarium, to prevent any escapes.

The are two genera: the genus Erpetoichthys contains only one species - E. calabaricus, known as the Rope or Reed Fish. The other genus contains the Polypterus species (bichirs), of which there are more than a dozen species and subspecies described .

Erpetoichthys calabaricus
Scientific name: Erpetoichthys calabaricus (Smith, 1865)

Common name(s): Ropefish, Reedfish, Snakefish

Origin: West Africa, Cameroon and Nigeria

Max reported size (TL): 960mm (36")

Description: This fish is very elongate, and lacks the pelvic fins found on the Polypterus species. The dorsal surface is olive green to brownish, with the ventral surface being a lighter yellow-orange colour. There is a dark spot on the base of the pectoral fins. The max size quoted above is unlikely to be seen in aquarium specimens.

Comments: Ropefish are sociable with their own kind and intraspecific aggression is not generally observed. They are also safe to keep with any other fish which are large enough not to fit in their mouths.

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Polypterus ansorgii
Scientific name: Polypterus ansorgii (Boulenger, 1910)

Synonyms: Polypterus ansorgei

Common name(s): Guinean bichir

Origin: West Africa (Guinea). Possibly distributed from Ogun River (Nigeria) to Corbal River (Guinea Bissau), although this wider distribution is unconfirmed and may arise from misidentification of P. bichir.

Max reported size (TL): 280mm (11")

Description: Greenish-black colouration with large dark blotches on the flanks. The jaws are of similar length, though the lower jaw is likely to protude slightly on mature specimens. The 12-15 dorsal finlets extend forward to the rear of the pectoral fins.

Comments: A rare bichir which appears to have a restricted natural distribution and is not generally exported for the aquarium trade. It is likely that it has been confused with other species (e.g. p47 of the Aquarien-Atlas vol. 6 shows P. palmas). The available description of this species is based on only a small number of museum specimens, and it is possible that characters such as the maximum size may be innacurate.

Polypterus bichir
Scientific name: Polypterus bichir (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, E. 1802)

Synonyms: Polypterus bichir bichir

Common name(s): Nile bichir

Origin: Nile River, Lake Rudolf and Omo River, Lake Chad, Chari and Logone Rivers.

Max reported size (TL): 680mm (27")

Description: Dark greyish colour on dorsal surface, with irregular vertical bands on flanks. Dark horizontal bands on the sides of juveniles can usually be seen faintly in the adults. Prominent lower jaw longer than upper jaw. 14-18 dorsal spines.

Comments: The longest known and type-species of the genus Polypterus.

Polypterus katangae
Scientific name: Polypterus katangae (Poll, 1941)

Synonyms: Polypterus bichir katangae

Common name(s): None

Origin: Central Africa (Katanga region)

Max reported size (TL): 460mm (18")

Description: Olive-grey dorsal surface and whitish ventral surface. Lower jaw longer than upper jaw. 12-14 dorsal spines present.

Comments: There is a strong possibility that this species is synonymous with P. (endlicheri) congicus, as it occurs within the range of that species, and cannot be differentiated from it by meristic characters.

Polypterus lapradei
Scientific name: Polypterus lapradei (Steindachner, 1869)

Synonyms: Polypterus bichir lapradei

Common name(s): None

Origin: Most of West Africa

Max reported size (TL): 740mm (30")

Description: Grey to greenish-grey colouration, with a paler ventral surface. Horizontal bands evident on the upper surface from the head to the dorsal finlets, and extending about halfway along the side of the body from behind the gills. The flanks have irregular vertical bands. Prominent lower jaw longer than upper jaw. 13-17 dorsal spines.

Comments: This species is now a fairly common import, and captive-bred fish are also available in the trade.

P. lapradei is very difficult to distinguish from P. bichir, particularly when markings are faded, as in stressed or newly imported fish.

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[b]Polypterus delhezi

Scientific name: Polypterus delhezi (Boulenger, 1899)

Common name(s): Armoured bichir, banded bichir

Origin: Central Africa: Congo river, Upper and middle Congo

Max reported size (TL): 350mm (14")

Description: The upper surface is greyish, with hints of green or yellowish colouration. The ventral surface is a uniform lighter colour. There are 7-8 dark vertical bands which vary in thickness between individuals. 10-13 dorsal finlets. The mouth is relatively small for the fish's size.

Comments: This bichir is quite commonly available. Captive-bred fish are available in the trade, but many seem to lack the more intense markings of wild-caught fish.

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Polypterus endlicheri congicus
Scientific name: Polypterus endlicheri congicus (Boulenger, 1898)

Common name(s): Congo bichir

Origin: Congo basin, Lake Tanganyika

Max reported size (TL): 970mm (39")

Description: Colour can be yellowish-brown to grey. There are several dark vertical bands. Black spots are often present on the head region. The lower jaw is more prominent, extending beyond the upper jaw. Dorsal spines extend forward to the rear of the pectoral fins.

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Polypterus endlicheri endlicheri
Scientific name: Polypterus endlicheri endlicheri (Heckel, 1847)

Common name(s): Saddled bichir, Red bichir

Origin: Nigeria, Lake Chad, White Nile

Max reported size (TL): 750mm (30")

Description: Irregular vertical bands are present along the sides of the fish, which do not extend fully onto the ventral surface, which is a uniform whitish-yellow colour. Black spots are present on the head, body and caudal fin. Prominent lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw. 11-15 dorsal finlets.

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Polypterus mokelembembe
Scientific name: Polypterus mokelembembe (Schliewen &Schafer, 2006)


Common name(s):

Origin: Central Africa, Congo River basin.

Max reported size (SL): 340mm (14")

Description: Normally yellowish-brown in colour, with large dark blotches on the dorsal surface, extending down the sides of the fish as irregular bands. There is a large dark spot on the base of the pectoral fins. 6-8 dorsal finlets present.

Comments: This species is rarely imported, and has previously been imported under the name P. retropinnis. In the description of this new species, the authors of the paper referenced below found the original type series of three specimens of P. retropinnis to be mixed. One of them was the species that has been known as P. sp. "Congo"/Zaire Green bichir (which is now designated as the "true" P. retropinnis), and the other two are the species previously known in the hobby as P. retropinnis (with broad saddle stripes) - this species is now designated P. mokelembembe.

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Polypterus ornatipinnis
Scientific name: Polypterus ornatipinnis (Boulenger, 1902)

Common name(s): Ornate bichir

Origin: Central and East Africa: Congo river basin, Lake Tanganyika

Max reported size (TL): 600mm (24")

Description: The striking black and yellow patterning of this species extends into the fins, making for a very attractively patterned bichir. The head has a finely reticulated pattern. 9-11 dorsal spines present.

Comments: This is the largest of the protuding upper jaw species of Polypterus.

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Polypterus palmas buettikoferi
Scientific name: Polypterus palmas buettikoferi (Steindachner, 1891)

Common name(s): Buettikofer's bichir

Origin: West Africa

Max reported size (SL): 353mm (14")

Description: The dorsal surface in front of the dorsal spines has forward-pointing "V-shaped" markings, which extend as diagonal bands onto the lateral surface. There are also diagonal bands on the flanks. Juveniles have a more dense colour pattern. The ventral surface is a uniform pale yellowish colour. Dorsal finlets have contrasting dark and light colouration. There are 7-10 dorsal spines.

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Polypterus palmas palmas
Scientific name: Polypterus palmas palmas (Ayres, 1850)

Common name(s): Marbled bichir, Shortfin bichir, dinosaur eel

Origin:West Africa: Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Max reported size (SL): 298mm (12")

Description: The dorsal area in front of the dorsal finlets has irregular small spots. The ventral surface has a uniform lighter colouration. The pectoral fins are usually spotted. The membranes of the dorsal finlets have contrasting light and dark colouration. 7-9 dorsal spines are present.

Comments: There is some confusion with respect to the identity of species within the P. palmas complex, with additional variants awaiting formal description.

Polypterus palmas polli
Scientific name: Polypterus palmas polli (Gosse, 1988)

Common name(s): Poll's bichir

Origin: West & Central Africa, Congo River

Max reported size (SL): 321mm (13")

Description: Dorsal surface has large dark blotches forming a mottled pattern. Ventral surface has a uniform lighter colouration. The base of the pectoral fin has a large dark spot. 5-7 dorsal spines.

Comments: This species seems to be commonly available in most parts of the world, and may be imported simply as P. palmas.

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Polypterus retropinnis
Scientific name: Polypterus retropinnis (Vaillant, 1899)


Common name(s):

Origin: West and Central Africa

Max reported size (SL): 340mm (14")

Description: The species now designated as the "true" retropinnis (see below) has similarities both to species of the palmas complex, and also (in colouration) to P. weeksii. The body appears very elongated. In older specimens it is much less heavily built than P. weeksii, and does not have the large head of that species. It has been imported in mixed shipments with P. weeksii, and could be misidentified as such in the trade. The pattern is subdued and similar to the palmas species on the flanks.

Comments: It has previously been proposed that there were two subspecies of P. retropinnis: P. retropinnis lowei and P. retropinnis retropinnis. However, P. retropinnis lowei has been synonymised with P. palmas palmas.

However, there is a new twist in the designation of P. retropinnis. In the paper referenced below, the authors state that the type series (of three specimens) for P. retropinnis is of mixed composition: two are the fish known in the hobby as P. retropinnis (with broad saddle markings) - which are now designated as the new P. mokelembembe - and the third is the species known in the hobby as Polypterus sp. "Congo" or Zaire Green Bichir - which is now designated as the "true" retropinnis.

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Polypterus senegalus meridionalis
Scientific name: Polypterus senegalus meridionalis (Poll, 1941)

Common name(s): None

Origin: Central Africa: Lualaba River and affluents in Katanga (Congo Dem Rep), Congo River down to Yangambi.

Max reported size (TL): 700mm (28")

Description: Uniform olive-grey colouration. 9-10 dorsal spines. Jaws appromiately equal length.

Comments: The designation of this separate subspecies is still in question - it may derive simply from a regional variant of P. senegalus senegalus.

Polypterus senegalus senegalus
Scientific name: Polypterus senegalus senegalus (Cuvier, 1829)

Common name(s): Senegal bichir, Grey/Gray bichir, Dinosaur eel

Origin: Africa: Nile basin and West Africa, including Gambia, Niger, Senegal, Volta and Lake Chad basins.

Max reported size (TL): 505mm (20")

Description: Uniform brownish-grey to olive colour on dorsal surface, ventral surface whitish. No banding on adults, very young juveniles show three horizontal bands. Upper jaw slightly longer than lower jaw. 8-11 dorsal finlets.

Comments: One of the more commonly available species, it is also one of the more active bichirs during daylight hours.

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Polypterus teugelsi
Scientific name: Polypterus teugelsi (Britz, 2004)

Synonyms: Polypterus sp. "Cameroon"

Common name(s): None

Origin: Cameroon, Upper Cross River

Max reported size (SL): 415mm (16")

Description: The colouraton is different to all other Polypterus, comprising a network of black markings on the upper surface of the body, black pectoral fins and an orange ventral surface. 7-9 dorsal finlets.

Comments: This recently described species resembles P. retropinnis and also the P. palmas complex. Apart from colouration, P. teugelsi differs from P. retropinnis in a number of other diagnostic characters, mostly related to its more elongate body.

Polypterus weeksii
Scientific name: Polypterus weeksii (Boulenger, 1898)

Common name(s): Weeks' bichir, Fat-headed bichir, Mottled bichir

Origin: Central Africa: Congo river basin

Max reported size (TL): 540mm (22")

Description: This species usually has a very clear distinction between the dark greyish-green dorsal surface and the whitish ventral surface. Several dark bands are present which may fork towards the bottom. The head is relatively large, giving rise to one of the common names of 'fat-headed' bichir. This species retains external gills much longer than most other Polypterus species. There are 9-11 dorsal finlets.

Comments: The Weeks' bichir seems to have a mild temperament and mixes well with other Polypterus species. However, the large mouth is capable of swallowing surprisingly large fishes, so any tankmates must be much bigger than the fish's mouth.

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credits to: polypterus.info

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PostSubject: Re: Polypterus...   Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:43 am

nice share bro yhandz ^^ this inspire me to share my dragon fins ^^
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