Mottled Bichir

The Mottled Bichir (Polypterus weeksii) is a freshwater fish in the Polypteridae family of ray-finned fish and reedfish. It is also known as the Fat-Headed Bichir.

The Mottled Bichir is an elongated fish with a series of 7-18 dorsal (back) finlets instead of a single dorsal fin. The finlets (small fins) can be raised and flattened. Its light-grey body has thick scales in patterns of dark-grey bands, and a white underbelly. It breathes through spiracles on the top of its head, four pairs of gills, and ventral lungs – the left lung is shorter than the right lung. 

Mottled Bichir

It grows to about 54 centimetres (21 inches) long.

It is found in the tropical freshwater floodplains and estuaries of the Congo River in the Republic of Congo, west Africa. It tends to lie on the bottom of the river. 

The Mottled Bichir is nocturnal, active at night. It is benthic, a bottom feeder, eating small invertebrates, crustaceans, and insects. 

The female lays 100-300 eggs which are fertilized by the male.

Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, Paris, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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