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Polypterus retropinnis

Scientific name: Polypterus retropinnis   (Vaillant, 1899)

Synonyms: Polypterus sp. Congo

Common name(s): Zaire Green Bichir

Picture of Polypterus retropinnis

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Origin: West and Central Africa

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

Description: The species now designated as the "true" retropinnis (see below) has similarities both to species of the palmas complex, and also (in colouration) to P. weeksii. The body appears very elongated. In older specimens it is much less heavily built than P. weeksii, and does not have the large head of that species. It has been imported in mixed shipments with P. weeksii, and could be misidentified as such in the trade. The pattern is subdued and similar to the palmas species on the flanks.

Comments: It has previously been proposed that there were two subspecies of P. retropinnis: P. retropinnis lowei and P. retropinnis retropinnis. However, P. retropinnis lowei has been synonymised with P. palmas.

However, there is a new twist in the designation of P. retropinnis. In the paper referenced below, the authors state that the type series (of three specimens) for , P. retropinnis is of mixed composition: two are the fish known in the hobby as , P. retropinnis (with broad saddle markings) - which are now designated as the new , P. mokelembembe - and the third is the species known in the hobby as Polypterus sp. "Congo" or Zaire Green Bichir - which is now designated as the "true" retropinnis.

Main Reference:

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.