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Pirarucu (Arapaima gigas)

The Pirarucu or Arapaima gigas is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world and goes by several different names including Paiche, or simply Arapaima. This massive fish can grow to over 14' in length, and weigh in at an astonishing 440lbs! If you can believe it, this fish actually has a bony tongue that has a second set of teeth embedded in it! This odd adaptation helps it chew up its prey with ease. Native to South American this tropical freshwater fish is found in the Amazon River and has also been introduce to several lakes in Thailand and Malaysia. These monsters can survive in low quality water with very low oxygen levels. This is because the Pirarucu is an air breather, and must have access to the surface in order to survive. It uses its swim bladder, which is rich in blood vessels to hold the oxygen needed to breath. You can learn more about the Pirarucu in the videos below...

Arapaima fish will often feed on crustaceans, fish and aquatic animals that get too close to this large fish. They will lay their eggs in early spring before the rainy season. These fish will build a nest, much like the Bluegill, but on a much grander scale. As the rains begin to fall the water rises, and the eggs hatch. Once hatched, the fry are known to retreat into the mouth of the male Arapaima for protection. This is called mouth brooding and is a characteristic shared by some Cichlids. They are also reported to secrete a form of nutrition from their head that feeds their young in the early stages of their lives. This is another trait shared by other fish, including the Red Turquoise Discus.Pirarucu fish are often caught with nets or by spearfishing, and are considered to be very tasty. Take extreme care though if you catch one of these monsters, they can be very dangerous because of their massive size and unpredictable behavior. If you have any additional information about the Pirarucu leave a comment below.

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