Bichirs /ˈbɪʃɪər/ and the reedfish comprise Polypteridae, a family of archaic-looking ray-finned fishes and the only family in the order Polypteriformes.[2]

All species occur in freshwater habitats in tropical Africa and the Nile River system, mainly swampy, shallow floodplains and estuaries.

Bichirs are considered the sister group to all other extant ray-finned fishes.[3][4]

Temporal range: Cretaceous–Recent
Nile bichir
Polypterus bichir
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Polypteriformes
Bleeker, 1859
Family: Polypteridae
Bonaparte, 1835

See text for species.


Bichirs are elongated fish with a unique series of dorsal finlets which vary in number from seven to 18, instead of a single dorsal fin. Each of the dorsal finlets has bifid (double-edged) tips, and are the only fins with spines; the rest of the fins are composed of soft rays. The body is covered in thick, bonelike, and rhombic (ganoid) scales. Their jaw structure more closely resembles that of the tetrapods than that of the teleost fishes. Bichirs have a number of other primitive characteristics, including fleshy pectoral fins superficially similar to those of lobe-finned fishes.[1] They also have a pair of slit-like spiracles on the top of their heads that are used to breathe air,[5] two gular plates, and paired ventral lungs (the left lung shorter than the right).[6] Four pairs of gill arches are present.[7]

Bichirs have a maximum body length ranging from 25 cm (9.8 in) to over 100 cm (39 in) depending on specific species and morphology.[8]


Bichirs are nocturnal and feed on small vertebrates, crustaceans, and insects.[1]

Air breathing

Bichirs possess paired lungs which connect to the esophagus via a glottis. They are facultative air-breathers, requiring access to surface air to breathe in poorly oxygenated water.[9] Their lungs are highly vascularized to facilitate gas exchange. Deoxygenated arterial blood is brought to the lungs by paired pulmonary arteries, which branch from the fourth efferent branchial arteries (artery from the fourth gill arch), and oxygenated blood leaves the lungs in pulmonary veins. Unlike most lungfish and tetrapods, their lungs are smooth sacs instead of alveolated tissue. Bichirs are unique in that they breathe using recoil aspiration.[9] Bichirs appear to prefer breathing air via their spiracles when undisturbed or in extremely shallow waters where they are unable to incline their body enough to breathe air through their mouth.[5]

Bichirs as aquarium specimens

Bichirs are popular subjects of public and large hobby aquaria. They are sometimes called dragon bichir or dragon fin in pet shops for a more appealing name due to their dragon-like appearance. Though predatory, they are otherwise peaceful, preferring to lie on the bottom, and make good tankmates with other species large enough to not be prey. Bichirs in captivity have life expectancies up to 10 years.


The two genera have 12 extant species:[8]

Phylogeny of Polypteridae.[3][4]

Erpetoichthys calabaricus


P. retropinnis

P. congicus

P. ansorgii

P. endlicheri

P. bichir

P. mokelembembe

P. ornatipinnis

P. weeksii

P. teugelsi

P. palmas

P. senegalus

P. delhezi

P. polli

Order Polypteriformes

Suborder Polypterioidei


  1. ^ a b c Wiley, Edward G. (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N., eds. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-0-12-547665-2.
  2. ^ Helfman GS, Collette BB, Facey DE, Bowen BW. 2009. The Diversity of Fishes. West Sussex, UK: Blackwell Publishing. 720 p.
  3. ^ a b Suzuki, D.; Brandley, M. C.; Tokita, M. (2010). "The mitochondrial phylogeny of an ancient lineage of ray-finned fishes (Polypteridae) with implications for the evolution of body elongation, pelvic fin loss, and craniofacial morphology in Osteichthyes". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 10: 209. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-209. PMC 3055249. PMID 20624284.
  4. ^ a b Dai Suzuki, Matthew C. Brandley, Masayoshi Tokita: CORRECTION: The mitochondrial phylogeny of an ancient lineage of ray-finned fishes (Polypteridae) with implications for the evolution of body elongation, pelvic fin loss, and craniofacial morphology in Osteichthyes. BMC Evolutionary Biology. Bd. 10, Art.-Nr. 209, 2010, doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-209
  5. ^ a b Graham, Jeffrey (2014). "Spiracular air breathing in polypterid fishes and its implications for aerial respiration in stem tetrapods". Nature Communications. 5: 3022. doi:10.1038/ncomms4022. PMID 24451680 – via Nature.
  6. ^ Berra, Tim M. (2001). Freshwater Fish Distribution. San Diego: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-093156-7
  7. ^ AccessScience | Encyclopedia Article | Polypteriformes
  8. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). "Polypteridae" in FishBase. June 2011 version.
  9. ^ a b Graham, J.B. 1997. Air-breathing Fishes: Evolution, diversity, and adaptation. San Diego: Academic Press. 299 p.
  10. ^ Otero; Likius; Vignaud & Brunet (2006). "A new polypterid fish: Polypterus faraou sp. nov. (Cladistia, Polypteridae) from the Late Miocene, Toros-Menalla, Chad". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 146 (2): 227. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2006.00201.x.

External links

A Better Life

A Better Life is a 2011 American drama film directed by Chris Weitz and written by Eric Eason. It is based on Roger L. Simon's story and follows an illegal American immigrating gardener and his son finding their stolen rent-to-own truck. Demián Bichir was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Alejandro Bichir

Alejandro Bichir Batres is a Mexican actor and a member of the Bichir family. He is the husband of Maricruz Nájera, and the father of Odiseo, Demián and Bruno Bichir.

Aventuras en el tiempo

Aventuras en el tiempo (English title: Adventures in Time) is a Mexican telenovela produced by Rosy Ocampo for Televisa in 2001.On March 19, 2001, Canal de las Estrellas started broadcasting Aventuras en el tiempo weekdays at 4:00pm, replacing Carita de Ángel. The last episode was broadcast on August 10, 2001 with María Belén replacing it the following day.

Maribel Guardia and Gerardo Murguía starred as adult protagonists, Belinda and Christopher von Uckermann starred as child protagonists, while Vanessa Guzmán and Odiseo Bichir starred as antagonists.

Bichir family

The Bichir family is a Mexican family of actors.

They include:

Alejandro Bichir, husband of Maricruz

Maricruz Nájera, wife of Alejandro

Bruno Bichir, son of Maricruz and Alejandro

Demián Bichir, son of Maricruz and Alejandro

Odiseo Bichir, son of Maricruz and Alejandro

Bruno Bichir

Bruno Bichir Nájera; (6 October 1967) is a Mexican actor and one of the members of the Bichir family.

Carpi (people)

The Carpi or Carpiani were an ancient people that resided in the eastern parts of modern Romania in the historical region of Moldavia from no later than c. AD 140 and until at least AD 318.

The ethnic affiliation of the Carpi remains disputed, as there is no direct evidence in the surviving ancient literary sources. A strong body of modern scholarly opinion considers that the Carpi were a tribe of the Dacian nation. Other scholars have linked the Carpi to a variety of ethnic groups, including Sarmatians, Thracians, Slavs, Germans, and Celts.

About a century after their earliest mention by Ptolemy, during which time their relations with Rome appear to have been peaceful, the Carpi emerged in c. 238 as among Rome's most persistent enemies. In the period AD 250-270, the Carpi were an important component of a loose coalition of transdanubian barbarian tribes that also included Germanic and Sarmatian elements. These were responsible for a series of large and devastating invasions of the Balkan regions of the empire which nearly caused its disintegration in the "Crisis of the Third Century".

In the period 270-318, the Roman "military emperors" acted to remove the Carpi threat to the empire's borders. Multiple crushing defeats were inflicted on the Carpi in 273, 297, 298-308 and in 317. After each, massive numbers of Carpi were forcibly transferred by the Roman military to the Roman province of Pannonia (modern western Hungary) as part of the emperors' policy of repopulating the devastated Danubian provinces with surrendered barbarian tribes. Since the Carpi are no longer mentioned in known documents after 318, it is possible that the Carpi were largely removed from the Carpathian region by c. 318 or, if any remained, it is possible that they mingled with other peoples resident or immigrating into Moldavia, such as the Sarmatians or Goths.

Chief (comics)

The Chief (Niles Caulder, Ph.D.) is a fictional character from DC Comics and the leader of the Doom Patrol.The Chief has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. Caulder made his first live adaptation as a guest star on the Titans television series for the new DC streaming service played by Bruno Bichir. He will be part of the main cast of the upcoming Doom Patrol television series on the DC streaming service. Timothy Dalton will take over from Bichir.

Demián Bichir

Demián Bichir Nájera (Spanish pronunciation: [deˈmjan biˈtʃiɾ ˈnaxeɾa]; born August 1, 1963) is a Mexican-American actor and one of the members of the Bichir family. After starring in telenovelas, he appeared in other Hollywood films. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Better Life.

El rincón de los prodigios

El rincón de los prodigios (English title: The corner of the prodigies) is a Mexican telenovela produced by Guillermo Diazayas for Televisa. It stars Demián Bichir, Alma Delfina, Tina Romero, Juan Carlos Serrán and Jorge Russek.

Grudge (film)

Grudge is an upcoming American supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by Nicolas Pesce, co-written by Jeff Buhler, and produced by Sam Raimi, through its Ghost House Pictures banner, Robert Tapert, and Takashige Ichise. It will be a reboot of The Grudge American film series, based upon the original Japanese franchise. The film stars Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Lin Shaye, and Jacki Weaver.

In 2011, a sequel was announced, with a release date for 2013 or 2014. By March 2014, it was officially announced that a reboot of the franchise was in the works, with Buhler set to write the script. By July 2017, The Eyes of My Mother filmmaker Nicolas Pesce was hired for rewrites, based on Buhler's script, and to direct the film. Principal photography on the film began in May 7, 2018, in Winnipeg, Manitoba and finished on June 23, 2018.

Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to release the film on January 3, 2020.

List of Lebanese people in Mexico

This is a list of notable individuals born in Mexico of Lebanese ancestry or people of Lebanese and Mexican dual nationality who live or resided in Mexico.

Lowriders (film)

Lowriders is a 2016 American drama film directed by Ricardo de Montreuil, written by Elgin James and Cheo Hodari Coker, and starring Demián Bichir, Gabriel Chavarria, Theo Rossi, Melissa Benoist, Tony Revolori and Eva Longoria. It was released on May 12, 2017. The film received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $6 million.

Machete Kills

Machete Kills is a 2013 American action exploitation film co-written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. It is a sequel to Machete, and the third film based on a Grindhouse fake trailer. Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Tom Savini, Billy Blair, Electra and Elise Avellan, Felix Sabates, and Jessica Alba reprise their roles from the first film, and are joined by series newcomers Mel Gibson, Demián Bichir, Amber Heard, Sofía Vergara, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega, William Sadler, Marko Zaror, and Charlie Sheen (credited by his birth name of "Carlos Estévez"). The film follows the titular ex-federal (Trejo) as he is recruited by the U.S. President (Sheen) to stop an arms dealer (Gibson) and a revolutionary (Bichir).The film was released on October 11, 2013, failing to recoup its budget of $20 million and received mixed reviews. Critics cited the overuse of plot points, poorly produced CGI, and the 'out-of-place' science fiction elements.

Odiseo Bichir

Odiseo Bichir Nájera (born May 3, 1960) is a Mexican actor and one of the members of the Bichir family.


Polypterus is a genus of freshwater fish in the bichir family (Polypteridae) of order Polypteriformes. The type species is the Nile bichir (P. bichir). Fishes in this genus live in various areas in Africa. Polypterus is the only known vertebrate to have lungs, but no trachea.

The etymology of the genus name derives from a combination of the Greek prefix πολυ-, poly- (many) and the root word πτερον, pteron (wing or fin) – "many fins".

Polypterus ornatipinnis

Polypterus ornatipinnis, the ornate bichir, is a bony fish found in Lake Tanganyika and the Congo River basin in Central and East Africa.

Polypterus senegalus

The Senegal bichir (Polypterus senegalus) also known as the gray bichir and Cuvier's bichir, is sometimes called the "dinosaur eel" (a misnomer, as the creature is neither an eel nor a dinosaur) also called "Dinosaur Bichir" or "dragon fish" in the pet trade. It is a prototypical species of fish in the Polypterus genus, meaning most of its features are held across the genus. Commonly kept in captivity by hobbyists. They are native from Africa where they are the most widespread species of the genus.

The Bridge (2013 TV series)

The Bridge is an American crime drama television series, developed by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid, that was broadcast on the FX network, and based on the Danish-Swedish series Broen/Bron. The series stars Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir in leading roles, and co-stars Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish, Thomas M. Wright, Matthew Lillard and Emily Rios in supporting roles. The complete series consists of two seasons of 13 episodes each. The series debuted on FX in the United States on July 10, 2013, and the series finale aired on October 1, 2014. The show was developed both in English and Spanish languages.

The American version takes place on the U.S. and Mexican border where a murdered body on a bridge between El Paso and Juárez (the Bridge of the Americas) bring together El Paso detective Sonya Cross (Kruger) who is mentored by Hank Wade (Levine) and Chihuahua State police detective Marco Ruiz (Bichir). The story parallels the investigation by El Paso Times reporters Daniel Frye (Lillard) and Adriana Mendez (Rios). The series was a critical success and received positive review throughout its run. After the first season maintained a modest audience that dropped by 42 percent by the second, the series was not renewed for a third season.

West African bichir

The West African bichir or retropinnis bichir (Polypterus retropinnis), is a freshwater fish in the family Polypteridae, is found in the central Congo River basin and Ogooué River in Africa. It is a long, slender fish that grows to a maximum length of about 34 cm (13 in).

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