Actual pike

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Actual pike
Polypterus delhezi

Polypterus delhezi

Superclass : Jaw mouths (Gnathostomata)
Class : Ray fins (Actinopterygii)
Subclass : Cladistia
Order : Polypteriformes
Family : Pike (Polypteridae)
Genre : Actual pike
Scientific name
Lacépède , 1803

The real pike-pike ( Polypterus , from ancient Greek πολύ polý , German 'much' and πτερόν pterón , wing ', fin') are one of the two recent genera from the subclass of the cladistia . Together with the flössel eel ( Erpetoichthys calabaricus ) they form the family of flössel pike(Polypteridae). The name-giving feature of the family are the five to 18 dorsal rafts, which replace the dorsal fin and are each equipped with a spine. The paired fins sit on scaled, muscular “arms”.

Flösselhechte colonize tropical West and Central Africa , in the east to Lake Tanganyika . The animals have a 30 cm to 1 m long, stretched body. A special feature of bichirs is that the absorption of oxygen not only about the gills takes place, but also as pulmonary serving swim bladder . In order to take up oxygen, the animals must therefore come to the surface of the water regularly in order to breathe atmospheric air.

The scales are diamond-shaped ganoid scales and are extremely hard and resistant.

The pike lead a predatory life. Their menu consists of fish, frogs, crabs and insect larvae.

200 to 300 eggs are laid for reproduction, the larvae hatch after about four days, depending on the water temperature, they initially have external gills.


After a revision published in mid-2019, 13 Polypterus aces are recognized:

Senegalese pike ( Polypterus senegalus )


Individual evidence

  1. Moritz, T. & Britz, R. (2019): Revision of the extant Polypteridae (Actinopterygii: Cladistia). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, IEF-1094: 1-96.

Web links

Commons : Common Pike ( Polypterus )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files