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the web of life in southern Africa

Dipnoi (lungfish)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish)

Two living species are known from Mozambique, with distributions extending further north. The oldest known fossil lungfish in Africa is known from the Lower Devonian Tra Tra Formation in South Africa (Anderson et al. 1999).  They are also known from Late Triassic in South Africa (Bender 2004; Bender & Hancox 2003).

Species indigenous to southern Africa








  • Anderson, M.E., Almond, J.E., Evans, F.J., Long, J.A., 1999. Devonian (Emsian-Eifelian) fish from the Lower Bokkeveld Group (Ceres Subgroup), South Africa. J. Afr. Earth Sci. 29 (1), 179194.

  • Bender, P.A., 2004. Late Permian actinopterygian (palaeoniscid) fishes from the Beaufort Group. South Africa: biostratigraphic and biogeographic implications. Bulletin 135, Council for Geoscience, South Africa.

  • Bender, P.A., Hancox, P.J., 2003. Fossil fishes of the Lystrosaurus and Cynognathus assemblage zones, Beaufort Group, South Africa: correlative implications. Bulletin 136, Council for Geoscience, South Africa.