African Lungfish In Aestivation Actually Edible

Mar 02, 2016 06:00 AM EST | By Rhea Penaflor (

You might feel bad to eat the exotic African lungfish, Protopterus Annectens, because it has lived for many years without water. This lungfish in deep slumber is actually edible! 

In the olden days, Native Africans have been found to dig up lungfishes, burrow and all, and store them for later use when they want fresh fish to eat. These fish have also been carried in their mud burrows for exhibition in the United States. They have a distinct, strong taste. The taste is such that "it is locally either highly appreciated or strongly disliked". As technology advancements such as longlines and gillnets have been increasingly applied over the past 50 years, the lungfish populations there are believed to be decreasing. Interestingly in Uganda, women do not eat the lungfish because they consider it a "sister fish", and therefore it is associated with men and manhood.

An African lungfish can live for years without water.  It can stay in suspended animation, called aestivation, without food and water for three to five years. They wake up when water becomes available.  During suspended animation, animals are inactive for an extended period-they take in no food or water and make no urine or waste. They enter a state of torpor, slowing down the biological time in relation to the clock time.

We know hibernation, but aestivation is a new word for us, right?  So, here are the major differences:

  •   Hibernation is winter sleep and aestivation is summer sleep.
  •   Hibernation is of longer duration as compared to aestivation.
  •   In hibernation, animals look out for a warmer place. In aestivation, animals tend to find a shady and moist place for themselves.
  •  Aestivators are usually cold blooded but hibernation is performed by both cold and warm blooded animals.
  •  Aestivators are usually snails, earthworms, bees, salamanders, etc.  Include African lungfish here! Animals which hibernate include birds, mammals, bats, insects and many more.

Now that you know how golden you would've considered an African lungfish, are you still up to cook it?

© 2018 Food World News. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Get the Most Popular Food Stories in a Weekly Newsletter
Real Time Analytics