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Polypterus mokelembembe

Scientific name: Polypterus mokelembembe    (Schliewen &Schafer, 2006)


Common name(s): Mokele Mbembe Bichir

Picture of Polypterus mokelembembe, Mokele Mbembe bichir

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Origin: Central Africa, Congo River basin.

Max reported size (SL): 340mm (14")

Description: Normally yellowish-brown in colour, with large dark blotches on the dorsal surface, extending down the sides of the fish as irregular bands. There is a large dark spot on the base of the pectoral fins. 6-8 dorsal finlets present.

Comments: This species is rarely imported, and has previously been imported under the name P. retropinnis. In the description of this new species, the authors of the 2006 paper referenced below found the original type series of three specimens of P. retropinnis to be mixed. One of them was the species that has been known as P. sp. "Congo"/Zaire Green bichir (which is now designated as the "true" P. retropinnis), and the other two are the species previously known in the hobby as P. retropinnis (with broad saddle stripes) - this species is now designated P. mokelembembe.

Main References:

Schliewen, U.K. and Schafer, F. (2006): Polypterus mokelembembe, a new species of bichir from the central Congo River basin (Actinopterygii: Cladistia: Polypteridae). Zootaxa 1129: 23-26.

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