:: Arapaima ::


The arapaima, pirarucu or paiche (Arapaima gigas) is a freshwater fish of tropical South America. This is a living fossil, and one of the largest freshwater fish in the world.
Arapaima can reach a length of over 2 m (6.6 ft), in exceptional cases, even more than 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and over 100 kg (220 lbs). The maximum length often quoted 4.5 m (14.8 ft) from a single second-hand report of the first half of the nineteenth century, and is not confirmed. [Citation needed] The maximum weight the cited case is 200 kg (440 lb). As one of the most sought after food fish species in South America, it is often captured primarily by handheld nets for export, by spearfishing for local consumption, and therefore, important 'arapaima more than 2 m are seldom found in the wild
Although Arapaima can stay underwater for 10 to 20 minutes, they tend to stay near the water surface, where they hunt and often emerge to breathe with a characteristic cough sound. They survive mainly on fish but are known to catch birds at close to the surface of the water.
The system consists of the Arapaima fish, crustaceans and other small animals. Fish is an air breather, using its labyrinth organ, which is rich in blood vessels and opens into the mouth of the fish an advantage in oxygen-deprived water that is often found in the Amazon River. This fish is able to survive in Oxbow Lakes with dissolved oxygen as low as 0.5 ppm. In wetlands of the Araguaia, one of the most important refuges for this species, it is the main predator of the lakes during low water season, when the lakes are separated by rivers and oxygen levels drop This makes her lethargic and vulnerable prey.
The proximity of the arapaima on the surface of the water make it vulnerable to human predators, which can easily target with harpoons. Some Aboriginal communities eat meat of arapaima and language and to collect its large scales, which are fashioned into jewelry and other items.
Due to the geographical arapaima living, the life cycle of the animal is greatly affected by seasonal flooding that occurs. The arapaima lays its eggs during the months when water levels are low or begin to rise. They build a nest about 50 cm wide and 15 cm deep, usually in areas muddy bottom. As the water rises the eggs hatch and the offspring have the flood season to prosper, during the months from May to August. Therefore, the annual spawning is regulated seasonally. The male is supposed to be a arapaima mouthbrooder, like its cousin the Osteoglossum, which means young people are protected in her mouth until they are older. The female arapaima helps protect men and youth in the surrounding and repel predators.

In his book The Whispering Land, naturalist Gerald Durrell hear the story reports that women in Argentina were seen arapaima secreting a white substance from a gland in the head and their young were observed apparently feeding on the bottom.

Seasonal flooding of the Amazon have become part of the reproductive cycle of the arapaima. During low water months (February-April) Arapaima build nests down and the females lay eggs. The young begin to hatch as the rising waters provide them with flood conditions in which to flourish. Adult males play an unusual role in reproduction by incubating tens of thousands of eggs in their mouths, their aggressive and keep moving them if necessary.

While the habitat of the giant fish is relatively unhindered, overfishing has become a serious problem, and some South American authorities have attempted to enact protective measures.

 
Diet:Carnivorous
Average lifespan in captivity:15 to 20 years
Size:Up to 9 ft. (2.75 m)
Weight:440 pounds (200 kg)
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