Reedfish – Erpetoichthys Calabaricus

Erpetoichthys calabaricus, often known as the reedfish, ropefish (more commonly used in the United States), or snakefish, is a species of freshwater fish in the bichir family and order. Erpetoichthys is the only species in the genus. It is only found in West and Central Africa.

The reedfish has lungs in addition to gills, allowing it to thrive in extremely oxygen-depleted water. It is threatened by habitat loss caused by palm oil plantations and other agricultural practices, as well as deforestation and urban expansion.

The reedfish may grow to a maximum total length of 37 cm (15 in). It has an eel-like, elongated body with no ventral fin. The long dorsal fin is made up of a succession of well-separated spines, each of which supports one or more articulated rays and a membrane. The reedfish has two lungs that allow it to breathe atmospheric air.

This enables the species to survive in water with low dissolved oxygen concentration as well as to survive for an intermediate period of time outside of water. Larvae have prominent external gills that resemble salamander larvae

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