Range and distribution
The Queensland lungfish is native only to the Mary and Burnett river systems in south-eastern Queensland. It has been successfully distributed to other more southerly rivers including the Brisbane, Albert, Stanley, and Coomera Rivers, and the Enoggera Reservoir
in the past century. The Queensland lungfish has also been introduced to the Pine, Caboolture, and Condamine Rivers, but current survival and breeding success are unknown. Formerly widespread, at one time there were at least seven different species of lungfish in Australia.
This species lives in slow-flowing rivers and still water (including reservoirs)
that have some aquatic vegetation present on banks. It occurs over mud, sand, or gravel bottoms. Australian lungfish are commonly found in deep pools of depths between 3-10 meters and live in small groups under submerged logs, in dense banks of aquatic macrophytes, or in underwater caves formed by the removal of substrate under tree roots on river banks. The lungfish is tolerant of cold, but prefers waters with temperatures between 15-25 °C.
The Queensland lungfish is incapable of surviving complete desiccation of its habitat, although it can live out of water for several days if the surface of the skin is constantly moist. Unlike the African species, Protopterus, it does not survive dry seasons by secreting a mucous cocoon and burying itself in the mud.
The Queensland lungfish is essentially a sedentary species, spending its life within a restricted area. Its home range rarely extends beyond a single pool or, occasionally, two adjacent pools. It does not follow a set migratory path, but may actively seek out suitable spawning habitats between July and December.