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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 18 years (captivity) Observations: Lungfishes have been reported to live more than 20 years in captivity (Genade et al. 2005), but this has not been confirmed.
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Diagnostic Description

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Diagnosis: Protopterus annectens annectens has an elongate body and paired fins are long and filamentous (Ref. 81261). The trunk, with 34-37 ribs, is a bit longer and the tail a bit shorter compared to Protopterus annectens brieni (Ref. 40587).Description: Protopterus annectens annectens is characterized by an elongate body and a prominent snout (Ref. 2834, 81261). Eye small, its diameter comprised from 9 to 15 times in head length (Ref. 2834, 81261). Dorsal-fin origin closer to occiput than to anus; caudal fin pointed, but its tip often broken off; paired fins long and filamentous, the pectorals with a rather broad basal fringe, up to 3 times longer than the pelvic fins and up to twice longer than head (Ref. 367, 2834, 81261). External gills usually inserted behind the gill opening and above the anterior paired fin (Ref. 81261). Scales small, cycloid an embedded in the skin; 40-50 between gill opening and anus; 36-40 encircling the body in front of dorsal-fin origin (Ref. 2834, 3023, 81261).Colouration: Usually dark, olivaceous or brownish, lighter below; irregular dark spots on fins and body, except on belly (Ref. 367, 81261).
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Life Cycle

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Lungfish spawn in the swamps during the wet season; they build nests in which the eggs, white in colour and about 4 mm diameter, are laid; the young are cared for by the males (Ref. 13851). The larvae hatch in eight days, and leave the nest in twenty days (Ref. 41544).Males of Protopterus annectens brieni excavate an U-shaped burrow to a depth of nearly 60 cm for spawning purposes. The nest is usually placed amongst the roots of aquatic vegetation where the male will attend to several females during the breeding season. He will aerate the eggs with body and fin movements and afford protection to the young for a while after incubation (Ref. 13337).
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Migration

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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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Crispina B. Binohlan
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Biology

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Found in marginal swamps and backwaters of rivers and lakes (Ref. 30488). It is associated strongly with life of aquatic plants in terms of breeding and feeding ecologies (Ref. 30558). Nests are made in weedy areas (Ref. 30558). It normally lives on flood plains and when these dry up, during the dry season, it secretes a thin slime around itself which dries into a fragile cocoon; it can exist in this state for over a year, although normally it hibernates only from the end of one wet season to the start of the next (Ref. 3023, Ref. 30558). For hibernating the fish literally chews its way into the substrate ejecting mud out of its gill openings; it may reach a depth of 3-25 cm below the bottom depending on the length of the fish; the lungfish wriggles around, thereby hollowing out a bulb-shaped chamber and coming to rest with its nose pointing upward; they breathe air at the mouth of the chamber's tube and then sink back into the expanded part of the chamber (Ref. 36739). As the water disappears the respiratory trips cease; air reaches the fish via the tube to the surface (Ref. 36739). Also under aquatic conditions this lungfish can survive more than three and half years of starvation; it shows the same behavior - no motion and same body posture - as an aestivating specimen (Ref. 51339). Carnivorous, food includes mollusks (Ref. 30488), but also frogs, fish and seed (Ref. 13851); in Kenya it feeds mostly on plant material, like roots (Ref. 30558).
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Importance

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fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial
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West African lungfish

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The West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens), also known as the Tana lungfish or simply African lungfish, is a species of African lungfish.[1][5] It is found in a wide range of freshwater habitats in West and Middle Africa, as well as the northern half of Southern Africa.[1][5]

Description

Protopterus annectens has a prominent snout and small eyes. Its body is long and eel-like, some 9–15 times the length of the head. It has two pairs of long, filamentous fins. The pectoral fins have a basal fringe and are about three times the head length, while its pelvic fins are about twice the head length. In general, three external gills are inserted posterior to the gill slits and above the pectoral fins.

It has cycloid scales embedded in the skin. About 40–50 scales occur between the operculum and the anus, and 36–40 around the body before the origin of the dorsal fin. It has 34–37 pairs of ribs. The dorsal side is olive or brown in color and the ventral side is lighter, with great blackish or brownish spots on the body and fins except on its belly.[6] They reach a length of about 1 m (3.3 ft) in the wild.[7]

Distribution

The West African lungfish is distributed throughout Africa.[8] It has two subspecies; P. a. annectens is found primarily in the basins of Sahel as well as Guinea and Sierra Leone whilst the other subspecies, P. a. brieni is known largely from the upper Congo River area and from the Zambezi of Mozambique.[8]

Habitat

Like other African lungfish, the West African lungfish is an obligate air breather and a freshwater-dwelling fish.[8] It is demersal, meaning that it lives primarily buried within riverbeds. Due to the dry season frequently drying the rivers and floodplains in which it lives, the West African lungfish can aestivate for up to a year; however the West African lungfish generally only aestivates between wet seasons.[8]

Diet

The Tana lungfish has a diet not unlike other lungfish, consisting of various mollusks, crabs, prawn, and small fish within its distribution.[8] It can also go for up to 3 1/2 years without any food intake whatsoever. During this time period it behaves much like an estivating fish in that it buries itself in the mud and does not move until more favorable conditions occur.[8]

LepidosirenFord.jpg

References

  1. ^ a b c Diouf, K.; Snoeks, J.; Lalèyè, P.; Contreras MacBeath, T. (2020). "Protopterus annectens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T169408A135027770. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T169408A135027770.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ ITIS.gov (Retrieved May 13, 2010.)
  3. ^ Haaramo, Mikko (2007). "Ceratodiformes – recent lungfishes". Mikko's Phylogeny Archive. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  4. ^ Froese, R.; Pauly, D. (2017). "Protopteridae". FishBase version (02/2017). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2014). "Protopterus annectens" in FishBase. April 2014 version.
  6. ^ EOL.org
  7. ^ Primitivefishes.com (Retrieved May 13, 2010.)
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Protopterus annectens summary page". FishBase. Retrieved 2015-06-08.

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West African lungfish: Brief Summary

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The West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens), also known as the Tana lungfish or simply African lungfish, is a species of African lungfish. It is found in a wide range of freshwater habitats in West and Middle Africa, as well as the northern half of Southern Africa.

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