Polypterus ornatipinnis

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Ornate bichir
Ornate Bichir (Polypterus ornatipinnis), Bronx Zoo.jpg
Ornate bichir
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Chondrostei
Order: Polypteriformes
Family: Polypteridae
Genus: Polypterus
Species: P. ornatipinnis
Binomial name
Polypterus ornatipinnis
Boulenger, 1902[1]

Polypterus ornatipinnis, the ornate bichir, is a bony fish found in Lake Tanganyika and the Congo River basin in Central and East Africa.


P. ornatipinnis has black and yellow patterning on its body, head, and fins, with 9 to 11 dorsal spines. It is the largest of the Polypterus species, with a protruding upper jaw,[1] reaching 24 in (61 cm) in length. This fish can range in colour from dark brown to brownish grey, and is very common in the aquarium trade, like many other bichirs. This fish has a primitive pair of lungs, enabling it to survive out of water for a short time. It has eyes on the sides on its head and two pectoral fins, and is one of the more attractive of the bichirs.[2]


  1. ^ a b Evans, Sean. "Polypterus ornatipinnis". Polypterus.info. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  2. ^ From the exhibit caption at the New England Aquarium, 2008.

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