v. 3.0 – 10 Oct. 2017  view/download PDF

2 genera • 19 species/subspecies

Erpetoichthys Smith 1865    presumably a misspelling or variant spelling of herpetos, snake, referring to “serpent-like aspect”; ichthys, fish [mistakenly believing “Erpetoichthys” was preoccupied, Smith proposed an unnecessary replacement name in 1866: Calamoichthys (calamus, reed; ichthys, fish, referring to its “cylindrical character”); some scholars believe that due to the vagaries of journal publishing in the 1800s, Calamoichthys inadvertently predates Erpetoichthys (with date changed to 1868) and should be the valid name of the genus]

Erpetoichthys calabaricus Smith 1865    icus, belonging to: Old Calabar River, West Africa, type locality

Polypterus Lacepède 1803    poly, many; pteron, fin, referring to multiple dorsal finlets instead of single dorsal fin

Polypterus ansorgii Boulenger 1910    in honor of explorer William John Ansorge (1850-1913), who collected type

Polypterus bichir bichir Lacepède 1803    local Arabic name for this fish

Polypterus bichir katangae Poll 1941    of Katanga, formerly a province in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), home of Lualaba River, type locality

Polypterus bichir lapradei Steindachner 1869    patronym not identified but probably in honor of Émile Pinet-Laprade (1822-1869), former (1863) governor of Senegal (where type was collected), who died of cholera the year this species was described

Polypterus delhezi Boulenger 1899    in honor of the late Paul Delhez, whose collections and field observations were useful in the preparation of Boulenger’s book on Congo fishes

Polypterus endlicherii endlicherii Heckel 1847    in honor of botanist Stephan Endlicher (1804-1849), who apparently discovered the species in the fish collection at the Naturhistorisches Museum (Vienna)

Polypterus endlicherii congicus Boulenger 1898    icus, belonging to: the Congo Basin (Stanley Falls), type locality

Polypterus mokelembembe Schliewen & Schäfer 2006    Mokele-mbembe, a mythological creature believed by some to be a sauropod dinosaur that survived the extinction of dinosaurs in the central Congo basin, alluding to the archaic nature of polypteriforms, which most likely are the sister group to the remaining Actinopterygii, and which probably existed at the same time as sauropods

Polypterus ornatipinnis Boulenger 1902    ornatus, decorated; pinnis, fin, referring to black spots on dorsal fin and black bars on pectoral, ventral, anal and caudal fins

Polypterus palmas palmas Ayres 1850    referring to Cape Palmas, Liberia, type locality

Polypterus palmas buettikoferi Steindachner 1891    in honor of Swiss zoologist Johann Büttikofer (1850-1927), who collected type

Polypterus palmas polli Gosse 1988    in honor of Belgian ichthyologist Max Poll (1908-1991), who proposed a name for this bichir in 1954 (P. palmas congicus, preoccupied by P. endlicherii congicus Boulenger 1898) but did not describe it

Polypterus retropinnis retropinnis Vaillant 1899    retro, back; pinnis, fin, referring to origin of dorsal fin behind the middle of the body

Polypterus retropinnis lowei Boulenger 1911    in honor of Willoughby P. Lowe (1872-1949), ornithologist and collector for the British Museum (Natural History), who collected type

Polypterus senegalus senegalus Cuvier 1829    Senegalese (described from Senegal)

Polypterus senegalus meridionalis Poll 1941    southern, being a southern subspecies of P. s. senegalus

Polypterus teugelsi Britz 2004    in honor of the late Guy Teugels (1954-2003), curator of fishes at the Musée Royale de l’Afrique Centrale, for his “myriad influential contributions to the systematics of African freshwater fishes”

Polypterus weeksii Boulenger 1898    in honor of Rev. J. H. Weeks, who collected type at his mission station in Monsembe, upper Congo River, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo)