Polypterids (Bichirs and Ropefish)
The Polypteridae are primitive, snake-like fish from Africa. They are predatory and essentially carnivorous,
but largely opportunistic feeders.
They are able to breathe air via a lung-like modification to their swim bladder, and can travel over
land using their strong pelvic fins. For this reason, a tight-fitting lid is recommended for the
aquarium, to prevent any escapes.
The are two genera: the genus Erpetoichthys contains only one species - E. calabaricus,
known as the Rope or Reed Fish. The other genus contains the Polypterus species (bichirs), of which
there are more than a dozen species and subspecies described . The more commonly encountered ones are described below.
More information on Polypterids can be found on The Tropical Tank's new sister website, Polypterus.info!