Napoleon Bonaparte was leader of a campaign through Egypt in the years 1798-1801. He was followed by 169 scientists, among them the zoologist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. After the return to France, Saint-Hilaire described a very strange species of fish he collected in the Nile river in Egypt under the (vernacular) name of Polyptère bichir. The valid scientific name Polypterus bichir was given to the fish only one year later by Lacepéde.
This was the first time ever that scientists all over the world became aware of a group of fish that was already extant 60 million years ago and hardly changed the shape since that time.
A very close relative of P. bichir is P. lapradei. There are in fact only very few features that can be used to distinguish the two fish. We currently have very pretty P. lapradei from Nigeria in stock. The fish were collected near the city of Ughelli in the Delta State of Nigeria. Our specimens are about 25-30 cm long. This is not even half of the size that is given as maximum length of P. lapradei: up to 70 cm! So these animals are mainly suited for specialized keepers of predatory fish or public aquaria.
For our customers: the fish have code 163605 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer