African lungfishes are elongated, eel-like fishes, with thread-like pectoral and pelvic fins. They have soft scales, and the dorsal and tail fins are fused into a single structure. They can either swim like eels, or crawl along the bottom, using their pectoral and pelvic fins. The largest species reach about 200 centimetres (6.6 ft) long.
African lungfishes generally inhabit shallow waters such as swamps and marshes, however they are also found in larger lakes such as Lake Victoria. They can live out of water for many months in burrows of hardened mud beneath a dried-up stream bed. They are carnivorous, eating crustaceans, aquatic insect larvae, and molluscs.