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Diagnostic Description

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Smooth, slimy, cylindrical body with deeply embedded scales (Ref. 28714). Tail pointed and confluent with the long dorsal and anal fins; dorsal fin originating at an equal distance from the eye and the vent, or nearer to the latter; pectoral and pelvic fins slender and filamentous (Ref. 34290). 55-70 scales in a longitudinal series from immediately behind the head to above the vent; 40-50 scales around body (Ref. 4903, Ref. 45485). Ribs: 37-40 pairs (Ref. 4903). The dentition consisting of upper and lower tooth-plates in the form of sharp cutting ridges (Ref. 34290). Young fishes with true external gills, but usually absent in specimens greater than 15 cm TL (Ref. 34290).Dark slate-grey above, yellowish-grey or pinkish below; often with numerous dark spots or flecks on the fins and body (some specimens bright yellow ventrally); sensory canals on head and body are outlined in black (Ref. 34290).
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Recorder
Cristina V. Garilao
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Diseases and Parasites

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Eustrongylides Disease (larvae). Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Allan Palacio
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Diseases and Parasites

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Heterorchis Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Allan Palacio
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Life Cycle

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The male parent prepares a pit or hole nest. More than one female may spawn in a nest. Once the eggs are laid, the female leaves the nest and does not return. The male then guards the eggs and young for nearly eight weeks. Not only does the male attack any would-be intruders but he constantly aerates the water in the nest (Ref. 4903).
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Tom Froese
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Trophic Strategy

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Inhabits rivers and lake fringes, swamps and floodplains (Ref. 28714). Adults and sub-adults occur in open water but they prefer shallow inshore regions, especially the vicinity of swamps (Ref. 34291). Generally becomes more active during the last hours of the day, its activity increases at dusk and probably continues during the night. During the day, this fish regularly leaves its site to approach the surface in order to breathe. It breaks the surface with its large mouth, filling its lungs with air, then allows itself to sink down. Food search involves mud-digging on open bottoms and taking up mouthfuls of dirt and algae which are then spat out (Ref. 42701).
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Pascualita Sa-a
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Biology

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Adults inhabit river and lake fringes, swamps and floodplains (Ref. 28714). In Lake Victoria, they are found in open lakes and marginal swamps, in Lake Tanganyika basin, they occur only near rivers and deltas (Ref. 4967). Juveniles are found in the matted roots of papyrus (Ref. 34291). Adults are able to live in streams and swamps which are completely dry for long periods of the year (Ref. 45484). They withstand desiccation on floodplains by aestivating in cocoons until the next rains, breathing air by a small passage leading to the outside (Ref. 45484). Mature individuals breed during flood season (Ref. 28714). One or several females spawn in burrows which are dug and cleaned by the male, who later guards the eggs and the young. The principal diet of adults and sub-adults consists of mollusks, but small fishes and insects are also eaten in small quantities; young individuals less than 35 cm TL feed almost wholly on insects (Ref. 34291).Under laboratory conditions it is an obligatory air breather (Ref. 34291), but under certain conditions lungfish in the wild may not be obligate air breathers and the use of aerial respiration may be a function of ecological as well as physiological factors (Ref. 58531).
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Rainer Froese
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Importance

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fisheries: minor commercial
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Marbled lungfish

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The marbled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus) is a lungfish of the family Protopteridae. Also known as the leopard lungfish, it is found in Eastern and Central Africa, as well as the Nile region. At 133 billion base pairs,[4] it has the largest known genome of any vertebrate and one of the largest of any organism, along with Polychaos dubium and Paris japonica at 670 billion and 150 billion, respectively.

The marbled lungfish is caught in large numbers throughout much of its range, including several hundred metric tonnes per year in the Mwanza Gulf of Lake Victoria alone.[5] It is mostly a food fish, although this varies depending on the exact community, with some recognizing it as a delicacy and others strongly disliking its taste or considering it as a taboo to eat it. In some regions, parts of this fish are used as traditional medicine.[5]

Description

The marbled lungfish is smooth, elongated, and cylindrical with deeply embedded scales. The tail is very long and has tapers at the end. They can reach a length of up to 2 m (6.6 ft).[1] The pectoral and pelvic fins are also very long and thin, almost spaghetti-like, used for gliding through the water. The newly hatched young have branched external gills much like those of newts. After two to three months, the young metamorphose into the adult form, losing their external gills for gill openings. These fish have a yellowish gray or pinkish-toned ground color with dark slate-gray splotches, creating a marbling or leopard effect over their bodies and fins. The color pattern is darker along the top and lighter below.[6] It was once believed that marbled lungfish are obligate air breathers, however, research published in 2007 suggests that the marbled lungfish primarily relies on aquatic respiration unless restricted by certain ecological or physiological conditions.[7]

Distribution

Protopterus aethiopicus is found in the African countries of Angola, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Among others, it lives in the Nile and Congo River basins, including lakes such as Albert, Edward, Tanganyika, Victoria, Nabugabo, Turkana, No and Kyoga.[1] Different subspecies are found in different areas: P. a. aethiopicus lives in the Nile basin and its lakes like Victoria and Tanganyika, P. a. congicus in the middle and upper Congo River, and P. a. mesmaekersi in the lower Congo.[1]

Habitat

Adult marbled lungfish live in swamps, riverbeds, floodplains, and river deltas throughout its range.[1] The juvenile members of the species often live in between the roots of papyrus plants.[1] Despite being aquatic, adult marbled lungfish can live in riverbeds and other areas that have no rain for portions of the year due to their ability to estivate or burrow in the ground to form an air bubble and breathe out of a hole in the cocoon thus formed.[1]

Reproduction

Breeding generally occurs during flood season, during which time males prepare a pit nest.[1] One or more females may use the same pit nest, into which they lay their eggs.[1] The female(s) then leaves the nest and the male guards the nest from attack for the next 8 weeks; in addition, he regularly fills the nest with air to ensure that the newly-laid eggs survive.[1] Research experiments conducted on marbled lungfish in Lake Baringo, Kenya, Africa reveal that the marbled lungfish actually reproduce regularly throughout the year as observed by the presence of lungfish in all maturity stages in all monthly samples. Additionally, based on the growth trajectories from R. Dunbarck's experiments suggests that overall, the marbled lungfish have a low reproductive effort and reach maturity around the age of 3 years.[8][9]

Diet

The diet of adults consists largely of mollusks, such as Mutela bourguignati.[1] They also eat small fish and insects at times; the diet of juveniles consists almost entirely of insects.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Fishbase.org
  2. ^ Haaramo, Mikko (2007). "Ceratodiformes – recent lungfishes". Mikko's Phylogeny Archive. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  3. ^ Froese, R.; Pauly, D. (2017). "Protopteridae". FishBase version (02/2017). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  4. ^ IJ Leitch (13 June 2007). "Genome sizes through the ages". Heredity. Nature Publishing Group. 99 (2): 121–122. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800981. ISSN 0018-067X. PMID 17565357.
  5. ^ a b Sayer, C.A.; L. Máiz-Tomé; W.R.T. Darwall (2018). Freshwater biodiversity in the Lake Victoria Basin: Guidance for species conservation, site protection, climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods. Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. doi:10.2305/IUCN.CH.2018.RA.2.en. ISBN 9782831718965.
  6. ^ Animal-world.com
  7. ^ (Mlewa, C. M., et al. “Are Wild African Lungfish Obligate Air Breathers? Some Evidence from Radio Telemetry.” African Zoology, vol. 42, no. 1, Apr. 2007, pp. 131–134. EBSCOhost)
  8. ^ (Dunbrack, R., et al. “Marbled Lungfish Growth Rates in Lake Baringo, Kenya, Estimated by Mark-Recapture.” Journal of Fish Biology, vol. 68, no. 2, 2006, pp. 443–449., doi:10.1111/j.0022-1112.2006.00906.x.)
  9. ^ (Mlewa, Chrisestom Mwatete, and John M. Green. “Biology of the Marbled Lungfish, Protopterus Aethiopicus Heckel, in Lake Baringo, Kenya.” African Journal of Ecology, vol. 42, no. 4, 2004, pp. 338–345., doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.2004.00536.x.)
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Marbled lungfish: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The marbled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus) is a lungfish of the family Protopteridae. Also known as the leopard lungfish, it is found in Eastern and Central Africa, as well as the Nile region. At 133 billion base pairs, it has the largest known genome of any vertebrate and one of the largest of any organism, along with Polychaos dubium and Paris japonica at 670 billion and 150 billion, respectively.

The marbled lungfish is caught in large numbers throughout much of its range, including several hundred metric tonnes per year in the Mwanza Gulf of Lake Victoria alone. It is mostly a food fish, although this varies depending on the exact community, with some recognizing it as a delicacy and others strongly disliking its taste or considering it as a taboo to eat it. In some regions, parts of this fish are used as traditional medicine.

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