Queensland lungfish is a protected species. The catching or
possession of these fish is totally prohibited and if caught,
lungfish should be released unharmed.
Queensland Lungfish is fully protected and may not be captured
without a special permit. It is also listed in Appendix 2 of
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Australia is a signatory to
CITES and has strict regulations on the export of the Queensland
greatest threat today comes from water use interventions in
the Burnett basin, in the form of dams, weirs and barrages,
and also the water level fluctuation and habitat change caused
by them. They are regarded as a species at risk because their
habitat is now so restricted and their fecundity is so low.
They are further at risk because they have no protection from
agricultural chemical run- off into the water, and because alterations
to their habitat have an unknown influence on the population.
The Queensland Lungfish is native only to the Burnett and Mary
Rivers and their tributaries. Since the 1890s they have been
transferred to other rivers and dams. Today they can also be
found in the North Pine, Brisbane, Logan and Coomerah Rivers,
Enoggera and Gold Creek Reservoirs, Lake Manchester and the
Condamine River west of the Great Dividing Range. How viable
the populations in these new habitats are is debatable. They
are likely to be small and not expanding, and possibly vulnerable.
Thus there is great concern with safeguarding the populations
in the original habitats.
The Queensland Lung Fish has a long, heavy body with large scales,
small eyes and paddle-like pectoral and pelvic fins. Its dorsal
fin starts midway along the back and is continuous with the
caudal and anal fins; they appear as one big fin from halfway
down the back to the tail. It is usually olive-green to brown
on the back and sides with some scattered dark blotches, and
whitish underneath. It is the fourth-largest Australian freshwater
fish, growing up to a length of 1.8 m and a weight of 40 kg,
but grows slowly, taking 15 years to reach maturity. It is long-lived;
one lived in captivity for 50 years.
Queensland Lungfishes have a single lung which is only used
for breathing on rare occasions. Most breathing is done with
gills, no differently from other fishes. In fact, if removed
from water they will die within two days. The lungs appear to
supplement the oxygen supplied by the gills in certain difficult
situations, such as when levels of oxygen in the water are low