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Welcome to Polypterus.info

A hobbyist website devoted to the Polypterid fishes (bichirs and ropefish).

This site is dedicated both to the enjoyment of Polypterids in the aquarium, and to providing an information resource about these fishes in general.

The Polypteridae are a family of ancient, snake-like fishes whose origins date back to the time of the dinosaurs!

All of the present-day Polypterids come from the freshwater rivers and lakes of Africa. They are able to breathe air via a lung-like modification to their swim bladder, and can travel over land using their strong pectoral fins. There are two genera: the genus Erpetoichthys contains only one species - E. calabaricus, known as the Rope Fish or Reed Fish. The other genus contains the Polypterus species (bichirs).

"If I had discovered only this species in Egypt, it would compensate me for the pains usually involved in a long journey."

- Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, of the natural history museum in Paris, describing the genus Polypterus and its Nile species Polypterus bichir (English translation).

From: Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, E. (1809) Poissons du Nil, de la Mer Rouge et de la Méditerranée. In: Description de l'Egypte, Vol. 1. (ed. Imprimerie impériale). Paris, pp. 1-52.