Re: NANFA-- new fish trivia

Dave Neely (
Mon, 22 Apr 2002 08:27:09 -0500

Pete, Chris, et. al. ...

>You have to be referring here to Lepidosiren, the Neotropical >Lungfish,
>but other than that the Polypteridae have external gills >when young.

Guess this was too easy...

Most basal sarcopterygiians (the lineage including us!) have external gills
as larvae. This includes both the South American (Lepidosiren) and African
(Protopterus) lungfishes, the bichirs (Polypterus) and reedfish
(Erpetoichthys), as well as most amphibians (at least those that don't have
direct development...).

In other words, from a cladistic perspective, we're all just fish...
(Casper, this explains a LOT!)

There's a couple strange exceptions - the Australian lungfish - a broadcast
spawner in which presumably the larvae have direct development (anyone else
out there know what these critters look like as larvae?). Coelacanths are
ovoviparous (eggs hatch inside, and larvae are maintained inside the female
during development). Further, they apparently maintain developing larvae for
up to 3 years (at least in Latimeria chalumnae)!

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,