Marbled lungfish facts

Marbled lungfish facts - Protopterus aethiopicus

HomeSouth American lungfish – Lepidosiren paradoxa

Taxonomy of Marbled lungfish

  • Species: aethiopicus
  • Genus: Protopterus
  • Family: Protopteridae (African lungfishes)
  • Order: Lepidosireniformes (South American and African lungfishes)
  • Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fishes)
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Kingdom: Animalia

Scientific name

Protopterus aethiopicus Heckel, 1851

Synonyms of Protopterus aethiopicus

Protopterus aethiopicus aethiopicus Heckel, 1851
Lepidosiren arnaudii Castelnau, 1855
Protopterus aethiopicus congicus Poll, 1961
Protopterus aethiopicus mesmaekersi Poll, 1961
Protopterus aethiopicus mesmaekeri Poll, 1961

Subspecies in marbled lungfish

Protopterus aethiopicus aethiopicus is distributed in Nile River, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika;
Protopterus aethiopicus congicus is distributed in middle and upper Congo River;
Protopterus aethiopicus mesmaekersi is distributed in lower Congo River;

Common names of Protopterus aethiopicus

English: marbled lungfish, leopard lungfish, African Lungfish
French: –
Chinese: 埃塞俄比非洲肺魚, 埃塞俄比非洲肺鱼
German: Äthiopischer Lungenfisch, Östlicher Afrikanischer Lungenfisch
Russian: –
Arabic: Samak el teen, Umm quru


Freshwater; usual depth range 0 – 20 m; demersal; Tropical; temperature range: 25°C – 30°C; inhabits rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, swamps and floodplains; distributed in Nile River, Congo River, Lualaba River, Malagarasi River, Rusizi River, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, Malebo Pool and Lake Turkana; introduced into Lake Mohasi;

Native countries

Burundi, Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Congo

Size range

maximum recorded length 200 cm; common specimen length: 130 cm; maximum recorded weight: 17.0 kg;

Feeding habits

lungfish essentially omnivorous; feeds on zoobenthos; fishes, worms, mollusks, shrimps, insects and insect larvae; also plant material, benthic algae, weeds and detritus;


dioecism; external fertilization; flood season; build nest and guard the eggs; paternal parental care; male aerates the water in the nest; mature females recorded above 70.0 cm and mature males recorded above 80.0 cm; fecundity of 58,422 eggs recorded in Lake Victoria; newly hatched young have branched external gills;


Parasitic infestations by protozoa, Larval Eustrongylides sp., Heterorchis Infestation;

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated
Threat to humans: harmless

Image source:
Image author: OpenCage | License: CC BY 2.5 (as on 2016-10-18)edited
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