Definition of bichir in English:



  • An elongated African freshwater fish with an armor of hard shiny scales and a series of separate fins along its back.

    Genus Polypterus, family Polypteridae: several species, including P. senegalus

    ‘Within the Chondrostei, only sturgeons, bichirs and paddlefishes survive today, and many are threatened.’
    • ‘All palaeoniscoids were extinct by the end of the Mesozoic, leaving only a few distant, primitive relatives alive today - the sturgeons, paddlefish, and bichirs.’
    • ‘Today lungs are found not only in land vertebrates but also in a few obscure fish lineages, such as gar, bichir, and lungfish.’
    • ‘Most of the increase in number of centers in ray-finned fishes also occurs in the gallium, where three subdivisions can be recognized in bichirs and some 13 in teleosts.’
    • ‘Eleven species of bichirs inhabit shallow floodwater areas in tropical Africa rivers, where they feed on worms, insect larvae, and small insects.’



/ˈbiSHir/ /ˈbɪʃɪr/


1960s via French from dialect Arabic abu shīr.