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Lungfish

Find, identify & discuss the marine species of SANParks
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Elzet
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Re: Running the guantlet

Unread postby Elzet » Sun Dec 06, 2009 7:10 am

It is not a pretty sight. Even more so when they are picked off one by one by hungry predators. :(

The African lungfish has survival techniques up its sleeve.

When a drought occurs, the lungfish digs deep into the mud and buries itself. Then the catfish goes into a stupor, stops feeding and becomes inactive. The cocoon of mud keeps the fish from de-hydrating and their inactivity slows their metabolism. Although they may appear to be in great peril, their chances of survival are good because they are prepared to deal with the harsh conditions. They are in a state that allows them to survive with little food or water. After the drought lifts, the water returns and the lungfish becomes active.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lungfish" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It seems the catfish not so much... :(

African and Asian clariid catfishes have long been reputed to survive habitat desiccation by remaining dormant under dry mud or sand, in the manner of the lungfish Protopterus. A literature review of aestivation in Clarias species reveals that many of the early accounts are based on hearsay, native superstition or confusion with the lungfish. Recent evidence indicates that clariids may survive whilst buried in moist sand, or in burrows with water-air interface, but that survival is unlikely in dried mud or sand.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/j272206880nrv512/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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gmlsmit
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Re: Lungfish

Unread postby gmlsmit » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:09 pm

The lungfish ( LEPIDOSIRENIDAE) is a 'living fossil' with a unique body shape and large tooth plates. The body is elongated with filament like pectoral and pelvic fins. The dorsal and anal fins have no spines , merging together at the pointed tail. The body is covered with small scales. The colour is normally a dark olive brown paler below with irregular blotches. The maximum recorded length is 900 mm with a mass of 4 kg.

It is carneverous feeding on moluscs, crabs small fish and insects.

It is an air breather and will drown if denied access to air. The two lungs are modified from the airbladder.

It burrows to form a chamber in drying floodplains, emerging when these are again flooded and conditions are suitable. It breeds in a U shaped burrow in the swamp. The male guards the nest also aerating the swampy water with its tail.

Tribesman search the dried floodplains searching the aestivating specimens for food.

This species inhabits floodplain areas of large African tropical rivers southwards to the Limpopo, this species was reported to have been discovered in the Kruger National Park in the late 1970s. One can therefore also expect to find this species in the Mapungubwe National Park.

This species is often misidentified as eals (ANGULLIDAE), a easy method is checking if the specimen has pelvic and pectoral fins, if it has it is a Lungfish, if not it is an eal.

Pectorqal fins = a pair of fins behind the gill openings.

Pelvic fins = a pair of fins on the ventral surface of the body.
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yoda
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Re: Lungfish

Unread postby yoda » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:23 pm

Thanks for the info.

I saw one in an Aquarium recently.
They are fascinating fish.

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yoda
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Re: Lungfish

Unread postby yoda » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:26 am

I went to an Aquatics/Fish keepers show a few weeks ago.

This lungfish was there.
Not sure if it's the same species as the one found in SA

Image

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Re: Lungfish

Unread postby gmlsmit » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:24 am

Family - Protopteridae.

African Lungfish:
Lungfish.

Family - Lepidosirenidae.

Protopterus annectens brieni.

Distribution: Mozambican pans beteewn the Zambezi and Inkomati. Also in the Zambezi - Zaire system in Lake Benguella.

The northern sub specie (P. annectens annectens) is distributed through West Africa up to the Sudd area (Upper Nile regions).

Length <900 mm, mass :4kg.

East Coast Lungfish:

Protopterus amphibius.

Disribution: Coastal plains of the Lower Zambezi, East Africa.
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yoda
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Re: Lungfish

Unread postby yoda » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:00 pm

gmlsmit,

Thanks for the info. I have a feeling the fish in the photo is a P. annectens annectens

I find these fish really fascinating.

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gmlsmit
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Re: Lungfish

Unread postby gmlsmit » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:29 pm

Some trivia:

Lungfish are of particular evolutionary interest as they and coelacanths are the nearest living relatives to the land-dwelling vertebrates (tetrapods).
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