Wetlands Animals

South American Lungfish
South American Lungfish
Class: Fishes: 4 classes  Diet: Fish
Order: Lepidosireniformes: African, South American Lungfish
Size: 1.2 m (4 ft)
Family: No Fish family information  Conservation Status: Non-threatened
Scientific Name: Lepidosiren paradoxa  Habitat: swamps, weeded river margins 
Range: Central South America 

Size of South American LungfishThe South American lungfish has a pair of lunglike organs connected with its esophagus. This fish usually lives in oxygen-poor, swampy areas, but because of its lungs it is able to supplement the oxygen obtained from the water by breathing air at the surface.  The swamps this lungfish inhabits are periodically flooded and then undergo a dry season. The fish survives the dry period by digging itself a burrow in which it lives, breathing air, while the swamp dries out. Once the surroundings become really arid, the fish closes the burrow entrance with mud, curls up and covers itself with a protective covering of mucus secretion to conserve moisture. Its body slows down to a state of dormancy, but it continues to breathe air. When the rains return, the lungfish emerges from its burrow. This form of inactivity in a hot climate is known as estivation.  During the rainy season, lungfish pairs spawn in burrows made by the male. He guards the eggs and then the young. The newly hatched young have adhesive glands by which they hang from vegetation and which are lost after 6 to 8 weeks.

Range of South American Lungfish
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