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Related to African Lungfish: Australian lungfish, dipnoan, South American lungfish
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of fishes of the subclass Dipnoi. There are four species (according to other data, three), the largest of which are Protopterus aethiopicus (reaches a length of 2 m) and the better-known P. annectens. Protopteruses inhabit fresh-waters of tropical Africa. The cylindrical body is covered with small scales; the paired fins are flagellate. The larvae have external gill appendages.

Protopteruses feed on fish and large invertebrates, mostly at night. They spawn in August and September (during the rainy season). The male builds a brood nest in the form of an underground burrow and guards the eggs and larvae. If the water should dry up completely, the fishes enter a torpid state. They burrow into the bottom and form a cocoon that fits tightly around the body. During this period, they breathe atmospheric air and may go without water for five to nine months or longer.


Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Washington, Dec 13 (ANI): Scientists have discovered that an African lungfish can use its scrawny limbs to 'walk', which redraws the evolutionary course of life on Earth from water to land.
(21.) DeLaney RG, Shub C and Fishman AP: Hematologic Observations on the aquatic and estivating African lungfish, Protopterus aethiopicus.
Primitive larynges also are met in the African lungfish (Protopterus), the Australian lungfish (the Barramundi, Neoceratodus), and in the Amazon mud fish (Lepidosiren).
THE African lungfish not only breathes air but burrows as well.
African lungfish walk and bound along the bottoms of water tanks on their slender, whiplike pelvic fins, a new study finds.
To get a closer look at one of the last living species of lobe-finned fish, the research team plopped African lungfish of the species Protopterus annectans one at a time into a tank with a plastic mesh bottom and trained several cameras on them.

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