Common name: barred bichir
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Bichirs are primitive, elongated fishes that can be distinguished from all other fishes by the presence of up to 15 dorsal finlets (resembling small flags) instead of a continuous dorsal fin. Polypterus delhezi may be distinguished from other bichirs by the presence of 10-13 finlets and 7-8 dark vertical bands.
Size: 44 cm TL (Poll 1941)
Native Range: Polypterus delhezi is native to the Congo River Basin in Africa (Gosse, 1984).
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Puerto Rico &
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Polypterus delhezi are found here.
Table last updated 2/27/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: The Barred Bichir lives in streams, lakes, and flood zones (Matthes 1964 in Froese and Pauly, 2012). Spawning occurs during the rainy season. This species is carnivorous. Polypterus delhezi is a demersal, air breathing species (Matthes 1964 in Froese and Pauly, 2012).
Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release. Bichirs are popular aquarium fishes.
Status: Failed introduction: no additional specimens reported since 2001.
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Froese, R. and D. Pauly (eds). 2012. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. Available from: http://www.fishbase.org. Version (08/2012).
Gosse, J.-P. 1984. Polypteridae. 18-29 in Daget, J., J.-P. Gosse, and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde, eds. Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa. Volume I. ORSTOM, Paris.
Matthes, H., 1964. Les poissons du lac Tumba et de la région d'Ikela. Étude systématique et écologique. Ann. Mus. R. Afr. Centr., série in-8°, Sci. Zool. 126:204 p.
Shafland, P.L., K.B. Gestring, and M.S. Stanford. 2008. Florida's Exotic Freshwater Fishes - 2007. Florida Scientist 71:220-245.
Matthew Neilson, and Pam Fuller
Revision Date: 8/7/2013
Peer Review Date: 8/7/2013
Matthew Neilson, and Pam Fuller, 2023, Polypterus delhezi Boulenger, 1899: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2264, Revision Date: 8/7/2013, Peer Review Date: 8/7/2013, Access Date: 6/3/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.