West African lungfish facts

West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) facts

HomeWest African lungfish – Protopterus annectens

Taxonomy of West African lungfish

  • Species: annectens
  • 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 annectens (Peters, 1844)

Synonyms of Protopterus annectens

Lepidosiren annectens Owen, 1839
Protopterus annectens annectens (Owen, 1839)
Rhinocryptis annectens (Owen, 1839)
Protopterus annectans (Owen, 1839)
Protopterus anguilliformis Owen, 1841
Protopterus rhinocryptis Gray, 1850
Lepidosiren tobal Castelnau, 1855
Protopterus annectens brieni Poll, 1961

Subspecies in West African lungfish

P. a. annectens (Owen, 1839)
P. a. brieni Poll, 1961

Common names of Protopterus annectens

English: African lungfish, Lungfish, Mudfish, Tana lungfish, West African lungfish
French: –
Chinese: 非洲肺魚, 非洲肺鱼
German: Afrikanischer Lungenfisch, Westafrikanischer Lungenfisch
Russian: Buryi protopter
Arabic: –


Freshwater; demersal; Tropical; potamodromous; temperature range: 25°C – 30°C; inhabits rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, swamps, mangroves, and floodplains; estivates in dry conditions;
The subspecies Protopterus annectens annectens is distributed in the large Sahelian basins, Comoé River, Bandama River, Senegal, Niger, Gambia, Volta and Chad basins;
The subspecies Protopterus annectens brieni is distributed in upper Congo River basin, Lake Rukwa, coastal plain of Mozambique, middle Zambezi Valley and Okavango basin;

Native countries

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo;

Size range

maximum recorded length 100 cm; maximum published weight is 4.0 kg.

Feeding habits

lungfish essentially carnivorous; feeds on zoobenthos, fishes, worms, mollusks, shrimps, insects and insect larvae; it also feeds on plant material and roots;


dioecism; external fertilization; flood season; build nest and guard the eggs; paternal parental care; male aerates the water in the nest; The larvae hatch in eight days, and leave the nest in twenty days; newly hatched young have branched external gills;



Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
CITES status: Not Evaluated
Threat to humans: harmless

Reference: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Protopterus-annectens
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:G%C5%91tehal-2.jpg
Image author: Mathae | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Aquarium fish pictures: West African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) facts.

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