The arapaima (also called the pirarucu) is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world; it grows up to a length of about 9.8 feet (3 meters). It also has a rather odd body shape — the front is long and narrow, while the back is flat with a round tail.
An interesting fact about them is that they need air. Only the baby arapaima has gills — adults have air bladders which allow them to breathe air, for which they have to surface every 5 to 15 minutes. This enables the arapaima to hunt in oxygen-deficient water where other fish are slow and lazy.
When it is breeding time both adults dig a hole, and the female lays her eggs in it. Then, while the male guards the eggs, the female keeps predators away from both him and the eggs. The newborn hatchlings are dark in color and they stay close to the father’s head for protection. During this time, the father’s head turns dark as well, to provide a camouflage for the young. He’ll even keep the young inside his mouth for better protection, until they are old enough to go their separate ways.
Arapaima are featured in the following book:
25 River Monsters
The YouTube video playlist below contains videos about Arapaimas. Details of the videos featured are underneath.
- Amazon The Flooded Forest – Arapaima 1 by Vincent Liew·
- Rivers of the sun, Amazon 5-6 by STEVANOVIC112
- Hooked : Monster Fish of the Amazon by NationalGeographic
- Piranha vs. Arapaima by JacobsSchoolNews