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Lungfish Facts and Photos on this Curious Fish with a Million Year Lineage

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Lungfish, also known as salamanderfish, are freshwater fish that can be found in Australia, South America and Africa. There are six different species divided into two families, Lepidosirenidae, South American lungfish and African lungfish, and Ceratodidae, Australian lungfish. Lungfish can be traced to the Lower Devonian period and have changed little in the last million years. They are carnivorous predators that relish live foods and will eat fish, crayfish, crabs and practically anything else they find.

All lungfish have developed lungs that allow them to breathe air in water with low oxygen levels, waters that other fishes couldn't survive in, similar to primitive amphibians. Their "lung" is a modified swim bladder, which the lungfish uses to absorb oxygen and removes wastes. They can also survive in very low water levels. South American lungfish dig a hole in bottom mud and build a nest until water levels rise. The African lungfish cover their body with a secretion that dries to a leathery cocoon to help them survive. The lungfish remain dormant, hibernating until the water returns and they can survive up to two years. The Australian lungfish survives in low water by breathing oxygen.

All lungfish have long snakelike bodies. Their bodies are powerful, elongated and eel-like. The base color is fish is brown, and has many darker speckles all over. Dorsal and anal fins are long-based, and the pectoral fins are very slim. Their eyes are small and blue. Lungfish sense their surroundings by using their fins and all species of lungfishes grows large: South American species grow to lengths of over three feet, while some of the African lung fish reach sizes of over 6 feet long.

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Picture of a South American Lungfish, Lepidosiren paradora, This fish has the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air

Picture #: 104664

Stock photo of an Australian Lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri, a very ancient fish with the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air. Can live to over 70 years

Picture #: 104655

Image of an African lungfish, Protopterus annectens

Picture #: 017763

Photo of an African lungfish, Protopterus annectens

Picture #: 011838

picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark

Picture of an Australian Lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri, a very ancient fish with the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air. Can live to over 70 years

Picture #: 104657

Stock photo of a South American Lungfish, Lepidosiren paradora, Close up image of the Lungfishes unique pectoral fin. This fish has the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air.

Picture #: 104666

Image of an Australian lungfish, family: Ceratodontidae, Neoceratodus forsteri

Picture #: 099141

Photo of an Australian Lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri, a very ancient fish with the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air. Can live to over 70 years

Picture #: 104656

picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark

Picture of an African lungfish, Protopterus annectens

Picture #: 017762

Illustration of Dipterus and Climatius, an acanthodian fish, the first fossil lungfish to be studied; in the foreground swims Acanthodian, Mid Devonian, prehistoric marine life

Picture #: 093419

Image of an Australian Lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri, a very ancient fish with the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air. Can live to over 70 years

Picture #: 104660

Photo of a Southern Lungfish , Protopterus annectens brieni

Picture #: 023553

picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark picture of a basking shark

Picture of a South American lungfish, family: Lepidosirenidae, Lepidosiren paradoxa

Picture #: 099196

Stock photo of an Australian Lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri, a very ancient fish with the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air. Can live to over 70 years

Picture #: 104654

Image of a South American Lungfish, Lepidosiren paradora, This fish has the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air

Picture #: 104663

Photo of a South American Lungfish, Lepidosiren paradora, Close up image of the Lungfishes unique pectoral fin. This fish has the ability to breath with gills or by gulping air

Picture #: 104667

 

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