The Queensland lungfish, is endemic to Australia with fossil records dating back 380 million years. It occurs naturally in the Mary River and Burnett River systems and has been introduced to reservoirs and rivers in North Eastern NSW and South Eastern Queensland. Fossils of lungfish almost identical to this species have been uncovered in northern New South Wales, indicating that the Queensland lungfish has remained virtually unchanged for over 100 million years, making it a living fossil and one of the oldest living vertebrates on the planet.
The Queensland Lungfish grows to about 1.5 metres (almost 5 feet) in length and around 40 kilograms (88 lbs.) and its Federal Conservation status is considered ‘vulnerable’. It is a protected species and may not be captured without a special permit. Food items include mainly frogs, tadpoles, small fishes, snails, shrimp and earthworms. It will also eat plant material.
It is the most primitive surviving member of the ancient air-breathing lungfish (Dipnoi) lineages. The five other freshwater lungfish species, four in Africa and one in South America, are very different morphologically. The Queensland lungfish can live for several days out of the water if it is kept moist, but will not survive total water depletion, unlike its African counterparts.