Polypterus ornatipinnis Boulenger, 1902
Ornate bichir
Polypterus ornatipinnis
photo by Moreau, J.

Family:  Polypteridae (Bichirs)
Max. size:  60 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  demersal; freshwater
Distribution:  Africa: Congo River basin in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Ref. 3188, Angola (Ref. 3188, 120641) and Republic of Congo (Ref. 45477). Also reported from the Lake Rukwa drainage (Ref. 27292) and Lake Tanganyika basin (Ref. 4537, 36901, 54847).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 9-11; Anal spines: 14-15. Subcylindrical body (Ref. 27292, Ref. 36901). Upper and lower jaw of equal length (Ref. 36901, Ref. 42907). Number of dorsal finlets: 9-11 (Ref. 42908, Ref. 51884). Dorsal fin origin well behind pectoral fin (Ref. 4967, Ref. 42873). Ganoid scales (Ref. 27292, Ref. 42904): 58-65 lateral line scales, 38-44 scales around body, 22-27 predorsal scales (Ref. 2970, Ref. 11970, Ref. 42907, Ref. 42908). Dorsal side grey-brown colored, marbled with clear whitish spots (Ref. 11970), the belly is white to yellowish (Ref. 27292). Head finely reticulated (Ref. 42873, Ref. 42901). Fins with white spots alternating with dark spots, forming a continuous bar (Ref. 11970).
Biology:  Inhabits calm waters of swamps and rivers (Ref. 11970). It feeds on worms and insect larvae when young, but takes larger food, mainly fish, when adult (Ref. 27292). It mainly hunts at night (Ref. 27292). In general they are more or less solitary fish and do not form schools (Ref. 27292).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 01 May 2009 Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

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