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Polypterus ansorgii

Scientific name: Polypterus ansorgii   (Boulenger, 1910)

Synonyms: Polypterus ansorgei

Common name(s): Guinean bichir

Picture of Polypterus ansorgii (1)

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Origin: West Africa (Guinea). Possibly distributed from Ogun River (Nigeria) to Corbal River (Guinea Bissau), although this wider distribution is unconfirmed and may arise from misidentification of P. bichir.

Max reported size (TL): Originally reported as 280mm (11"), but now believed to be up to almost 900mm (36").

Description: Greenish-black colouration with large dark blotches on the flanks. The jaws are of similar length, though the lower jaw is likely to protude slightly on mature specimens. The 12-15 dorsal finlets extend forward to the rear of the pectoral fins.

Comments: A rare bichir which appears to have a restricted natural distribution and is not generally exported for the aquarium trade. It is likely that it has been confused with other species (e.g. p47 of the Aquarien-Atlas vol. 6 shows P. palmas). The available description of this species is based on only a small number of museum specimens, and it is possible that characters such as the maximum size may be innacurate.

Main References:

Gosse, J.-P. (1984). Polypteridae. p. 18-29. In: J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.). Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ORSTOM, Paris and MRAC, Tervuren. Vol. 1.

Schafer, F. (2004). Aqualog Polypterus. Verlag ACS GmbH (Aqualog).