SPECIES: Neoceratodus forsteri — Australian Lungfish
The Australian Lungfish is quite the fascinating species. It also holds the crown as the oldest known living vertebrate species, dating back 380 million years ago. It's a long, freshwater fish with a heavily scaled body, a wide, flat head and paddle-shaped fins that resemble flippers. They can grow up to 2m and weigh 50kg. Lungfish are able to breathe aquatically through their gills but also surface to breathe, needing more air when active - such as when foraging, swimming in floodwaters or spawing. Restricted to south-east Queensland and naturally occurring in only the Mary, Burnett and Brisbane River systems, Lungfish require still-flowing, shallow water to feed and spawn and first breed at the age of 15 (males) and 20 (females).
An adult Australian Lungfish has few or no natural predators and is a long-living species, anywehere from 60 up to 100 years. Listed as an endangered species worldwide by IUCN, the remaining populations are currently protected from fishing to help stop their decline in numbers.
Photo: Fishes of Australia