South American lungfish

South American lungfish

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Credit: CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The South American lungfish, Lepidosiren paradoxus. Lungfish were common in Devonian and Carboniferous times (400-300 million years ago), but only six species are known today. They are a group of amphibian-like, air-breathing fish, thought to be the ancestors of the terrestrial vertebrates. The South American lungfish has paired lungs, located on either side of the throat, and can survive for long periods if the river or lake in which it lives dries up. The larvae of L. paradoxus have an adhering organ (sucker) and tree-like external gills, but these degenerate and disappear as the fish grow.

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Keywords: air-breathing fish, amphibian-like fish, animal, bony fish, fish, lepidosiren paradoxus, lungfish, nature, pisces, type, wildlife, zoology

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