Arapaima Gigas, more commonly known as Arapaima or Pirarucu, is one of the largest species of freshwater fish, native to the Amazon River in the Amazon Basin. It is a member of the Osteoglossidae (boney-tongues) family.

Growing to lengths of up to 10' or more and weighing as much as 400 lbs, the Arapaima feeds on some species of catfish, and has been known to leap out of the water to snatch small birds and mammals from overhanging trees.

Referred to, in captivity, as the Giant of the Aquarium, it is a flat bony fish with a scaly, elongated body and short stumped tail. It's coloring begins at the head as a copperish-green fading to blue-green along the body, white on the under belly, and reddish fins.

The Amazon peoples find this fish to be a main staple of their diet. Utilizing the tongue, which has a 2nd set of teeth, and scales as graters and sand paper. The meat is often salted to avoid spoilage. Because of poaching (for sale to other countries) and pesticides, the Arapaima Gigas is now listed as an endangered species.

This fish spawns from January to March each year, laying thousands of eggs into trenches in the sand. One of the parents (which is unknown) nourishes the fry by developing white turbercules.

Information gathered in part at and

A`ra*pai"ma (#), n. [Prob. native name.] Zool.

A large fresh-water food fish of South America.


© Webster 1913.

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