Our animals

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Northern lakes and seas

The ocean

Tropical rivers and lakes

Select aquaria

Dwarf mormyrid

Electric eel

Cave tetra

Neon tetra

Arowana

Philippines crocodile

Arapaima

Piranha

Stream aquarium

Under the riverbank

River cichlids

The plants in the river

Angelfish

Armored predators

Discusfish

Poison Frog

African river

Archerfish

Endangered species

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Malawi

Select species

Select a species to read more


Pinstripe damba

Pinstripe damba

Pig-nosed turtle

Pig-nosed turtle

Nyereres cichlid

Nyereres cichlid

Blue victoria mouthbrooder

Blue victoria mouthbrooder

Barred bichir

Barred bichir

Saddled bichir

Saddled bichir

Ornate bichir

Ornate bichir

West African lungfish

West African lungfish

Dolphin mormyrid

Dolphin mormyrid

Black spotted catfish

Black spotted catfish

Moustache catfish

Moustache catfish

Thick-lipped Viktoria mouthbrooder

Thick-lipped Viktoria mouthbrooder

Barred bichir

Barred bichir

Facts

LatinPolypterus delhezi
Size44 cm
FoodSmall crustaceans, insects and worms
HabitatLakes and rivers
IUCN

Least concern

LocationThe Congo drainage in Western Central Africa
Map

A fish that looks like a snake

The barred bichir resembles a snake with its oblong, rounded body and flat head. The barred bichir is grey or light green with black stripes. The scales on its body make the barred bichir look even more like a snake.

Breathes air

The barred bichir has a two-part swim bladder that acts as a lung. In fact, the barred bichir needs to breathe air and may drown if it is prevented from obtaining it.

Some similarities with amphibians

The young fish larvae start life with external gills that are reminiscent of those found on amphibians. The fish also have well-developed, powerful pectoral fins that look like legs. This gives the barred bichir features that resemble those of an amphibian.