The Australian Lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri) is also known as the Queensland Lungfish. It is a lobe-finned fish from Australia. It is one of the oldest living vertebrates on the planet.
The Australian Lungfish has a long, stout body with a flattened head and and paddle-shaped tail. It is olive-green or brown, with a pale-yellow underbelly. It has small eyes and a small mouth. Their large, bony scales have slime on them.
It can grow to about 150 centimetres (57 inches) in length.
The skeleton of the Australian Lungfish is partly bone, and partly cartilage.
The Australian Lungfish is a freshwater fish, but can live for several days out of the water if its body is kept moist.
It is called a Lungfish because it has a single lung (like humans and other mammals) in addition to its gills (like fish). During droughts, it can can breathe air through its lung, which is like a long sac. When there is a lot of water in the river, it breathes through its gills.
It prefers warm, slow-moving rivers and still water, with vegetation on the river bed or banks of the river. It lives in mud, sand, or gravel river beds, and also in caves, crevices, or logs.
The Australian Lungfish is nocturnal, active mostly at night.
It is a carnivore, eating frogs, worms, fish, and plants. They are bottom feeders, feeding on food at the bottom of the river.
The Australian Lungfish breeds in freshwater, not on land. Females lay 200-600 eggs on aquatic plants. It does not make a nest. The parents do not look after the young when they hatch after 21-28 days. The young look like tadpoles.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM