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Friday, March 18, 2016

Species Fact Profile: Queensland Lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri)

Queensland (Australian) Lungfish
Neoceratodus forsteri (J.L.G. Krefft, 1870)

Range: Southeastern Queensland (Australia)
Habitat: Permanent Freshwater Pools
Diet: Fish, Amphibians, Aquatic Invertebrates, Aquatic Vegetation
Social Grouping: Juveniles Territorial, Adults Not
Reproduction: Sexually mature at 15-20 years old, spawn during August-December, eggs deposited individual in water (up to 100 per mating), no parental care provided
Lifespan: 100 Years
Conservation Status: CITES Appendix II

  • Body length 80-200 centimeters, weigh up to 48 kilograms.  Thick, heavyset body with wide, flat head and paddle-like fins
  • Green, gray, or brown on the back, paler on the bellies with some white on the sides; sexes look alike, though the stomach of the male may change colors during breeding season
  • Have a single lung (most lungfish have two), used to gulp oxygen from surface when body is stressed and additional oxygen is needed, such as when pools dry up; it can live out of water for a few days as long as its skin stays moist
  • Sometimes observed eating aquatic vegetation, which seems to pass through the body without being digested; this might be just to ingest small organism found within the plant matter
  • Believed to use electroreception to locate hidden prey
  • Extremely long-lived; a Queensland lungfish at the Shedd Aquarium, known as Granddad, is believed to be the world's oldest captive fish
  • Move between deep and shallow water as part of a daily cycle (deep in the day, shallow at night) and seasonally (deep in winter, shallow during spawning season)
  • Cannot survive in saltwater, which limits their range, but they are known to have been transplanted by humans into some river locations where they were not believed to have previously existed
  • Lungfish have been observed in the fossil record unchanged for over 100 million years, leading to their being called "Living Fossils"

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