A local man has filmed a recent interaction he had with a giant lungfish swimming in the shallows of the Burnett River.
Steve Jensen was staying at nature retreat Bungadoo Breeze, located between Bundaberg and Gin Gin, late last year when he experienced the surreal animal encounter.
“The lungfish easily would've been around the one metre mark,” he said.
“It was first spotted breaching and playing 30 metres upstream but made it's way toward me where it decided to have a little rest.
Steve said he managed to get up close to the fish, giving it a little pat before it went about its day.
“The fish was very chilled and didn't seem to mind my close proximity one bit,” he said.
“I guess a fish that size has few natural predators around here.”
Lungfish link between fish and reptiles
According to the Queensland Museum, the Australian lungfish can grow up to 150cm and can live for 100 years.
“The Australian lungfish has a fully functioning lung as well as gills, although the lung is mostly used only when the fish is very active, or when the water becomes muddy or low in oxygen,” the Queensland Museum said.
“It can survive out of water in drying river beds, billabongs or gullies for extended periods, as long as it is kept moist in the bottom mud or aquatic weeds.”
The Australian Lungfish was first discovered in 1870 and is often referred to as a surviving link in the evolutionary chain between fishes and amphibians.
Steve said his encounter with the giant fish in the Burnett River was something he would not soon forget.
“I certainly consider myself lucky to have had the chance to see such an incredible, prehistoric fish- an evident link between the evolution of fish to reptiles,” he said.
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