January 19, 2022

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The largest river fish in the world called arapaima and lives in the Amazon (+ photos)

The largest river fish in the world called arapaima and lives in the Amazon (+ photos)

Photo: Ricardo Oliveira/AFP.

Arapaima gigas is the world’s largest river fish and the second largest freshwater fish, second only to the Belgian sturgeon inhabiting the Black Sea.

These types It can reach more than three meters in length and weigh up to 250 kilograms. Its silhouette is well known to the inhabitants of the Amazon basin: it has an elongated body with thick scales that protect it from attacks of piranhas and forms a silver pattern with edges that can take on a red, sometimes yellow color.

Also known as paiche or pirarucĂș, this freshwater giant feeds mainly on other small fish and sometimes on crustaceans and plankton. Despite its size, there are no records of attacks on humans; However, hunting it carries the risk of capturing an animal of its own weight.

Arapima, Arapima Gegas. Composite image. Portugal. Composite image. Photo: Paulo de Oliveira/Biosphoto/Biosphoto via AFP.

Its distribution extends across the Amazon basin into shallow waters and swamps where oxygen is scarce. Arapima have adapted to survive in waters rich in plants Prefers places with low current and requires going out for breathing at least every 20 minutes.

Its existence has accompanied the peoples of the Amazon for thousands of years. In the oral traditions of the different locations, their hunting techniques are named, striking them in shallow water or using spears to immobilize them.

It is also a food and economic resource for the towns along the river’s edge, as its meat is valuable and usually depleted in the markets: A person weighing 200 kg can secrete up to 60 kg of steak.

Imagine: AFP / MAMIRAUA Institute for Sustainable Development / Bernardo Oliveira.

During the 1970s, Indiscriminate hunting has caused the species to decline in various locations across the Amazon.

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The problem led to measures such as conducting a census, limiting annual hunting to the number of individuals estimated to be in the wild, as well as allowing them to hunt only for local communities, and reducing the number of foreigners traveling with lonely in order to hunt and commercially exploit this species.

In past decades, Sightings of the giant arapaima became sporadic. Hence, Amazonian communities have not only redoubled their efforts to protect the areas where the pirarus breeds in recent years, but have also maintained sustainable fishing cooperatives, while allowing them to be commercially exploited and improving their quality of life, contributing to the conservation of the Amazon giant fish.

Photo: Ricardo Oliveira/AFP.

(taken from National Geographic)