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Polypterus palmas

Scientific name: Polypterus palmas   (Ayres, 1850)

Synonym(s): Polypterus palmas palmas   (Ayres, 1850), Polypterus palmas buettikoferi   (Steindachner, 1891), Polypterus lowei   

Common name(s): Marbled bichir, Shortfin bichir, dinosaur eel

Origin:West Africa: Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Max reported size (SL): 298mm (12")

Description: The dorsal area in front of the dorsal finlets has irregular small spots. The ventral surface has a uniform lighter colouration. The pectoral fins are usually spotted. The membranes of the dorsal finlets have contrasting light and dark colouration. 7-9 dorsal spines are present.

Comments: There has long been some confusion with respect to the identity of species within the P. palmas complex, with some variants being designated as subspecies for many years, but now considered geographical variants, and Polypterus palmas polli now considered to be a separate species.


Main Ref: Hanssens, M.M., G.G.Teugels, D.F.E.Thys Van den Audenaerde (1995): Subspecies in the Polypterus palmas complex (Brachiopterygii; Polypteridae) from West and Central Africa. Copeia 1995 (3): 694-705.


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