The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Polypterus delhezi
Polypterus delhezi
(barred bichir)

Copyright Info
Polypterus delhezi Boulenger, 1899

Common name: barred bichir

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

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
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

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.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL200120011Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 4/22/2024

† 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.

Remarks: Voucher specimen: UF 148738.

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.

FishBase Summary

Author: Matthew Neilson, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 8/7/2013

Peer Review Date: 8/7/2013

Citation Information:
Matthew Neilson, and Pam Fuller, 2024, 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: 4/22/2024

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/22/2024].

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For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.