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Polypterus teugelsi

Classification

Polypteridae

Distribution

Probably endemic to the River Cross drainage in Cameroon.

Habitat

Most commonly found in shady, slow-moving rainforest streams with lush growths of overhanging marginal vegetation.

Maximum Standard Length

16″ (40cm)

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

60″ x 24″ x 24″ (150x60x60cm) – 540 litres.

Maintenance

Assume tank setup as for other bichir species. Therefore floor space is more important than depth. A soft substrate with pieces of driftwood and smooth rocks arranged to form hiding places is ideal. Some floating vegetation should also be provided. Plants are not essential but are appreciated. The aquarium should have a tight-fitting cover as bichirs are excellent escape artists.

Water Conditions

Temperature: 77-82°F (25-28°C)

pH: 7.0-7.5

Hardness: 1-5 dH

Diet

P. teugelsi is carnivorous by nature and feeding should be as for other species in the genus. This means that dried foods are unlikely to be accepted and instead the fish should be offered meaty live or frozen foods such as prawns, earthworms, mussel, lancefish etc

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Not to be trusted with tankmates it can fit in its mouth but is probably relatively peaceful otherwise as with other bichirs. Suitable tankmates should therefore include other Polypterus species, Synodontis, Datnoides, Knife Fish, larger Ctenopoma species, medium to large characins and African Butterfly Fish.

Sexual Dimorphism

Unknown.

Reproduction

Has not been bred in aquaria. Little to nothing is known of its breeding behaviour.

NotesTop ↑

An incredibly hardy, nocturnal species with very poor vision, P. teugseli relies on its excellent sense of smell to locate food. This species along with others of its genus are some of the last surviving relatives of very ancient species. Fossils of earlier relatives have been found that date back to the Triassic Period, which occured during the early development of the dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago.
They have several interesting adaptations. The swim bladder is divided into 2 parts, of which the right hand section is considerably larger. This functions as an accessory breathing organ and means the fish can survive out of water for some time provided it is kept moist. Like Ananbantoid species, this fish may actually drown if it is denied access to atmospheric air.
Young bichirs have amphibian-like external gills which are lost as the fish matures. This, coupled with their nocturnal mode of hunting, in which they emerge from their daytime refuges to hunt invertebrates and small fish in shallow water clearly exhibit the link these species form between fish and amphibians.
The colouration and pattern exhibited by P. teugelsi is unique to the genus, consisting of a network pattern of black marks on the top half of the body, contrasting with the orange belly and jet black pectoral fins. It is also more elongate and proportionately more slender than other Polypterus species.
This species was only discovered in 1988 and was decribed to science in 2004. This in itself also sets P. teugelsi apart as all other known species of bichir were described to science prior to the year 1911.
P. teugelsi is one of the “upper-jawed” tribe of polypterids so named on account of the upper jaw being longer than or equal in length to the lower jaw. It is incredibly rare in the hobby and we do not know of any specimens currently in captivity. Expect the fish to be very expensive if you do find one.
It should be noted that most Polypterus offered for sale are wild caught and as much may come in carrying infections or parasites. We suggest keeping a close eye on new fish for the first few weeks after purchase.

One Response to “Polypterus teugelsi”

  • groversenpai

    This species can and will accept pellets like Hikari Massivore, also there is a farm in Singapore that breeds this species along with other bichirs.


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