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The Arapaima Is A Real Amazon River Monster

A real Amazon River monster, the Arapaima is truly one of the biggest fresh water fish today, reaching in length up to and over 9 feet, they can weigh almost 440 pounds. Arapaima are considered to be an ancient fish – scientists estimate they are descendants of fish that date back more than 250 million years. This is one of the main food fish in the Amazon. But because of over-fishing, populations in it’s natural habitat are declining, the Arapaima has been introduced into Asia.

bone

This fish is an air-breather and lives-off of crustaceans and even small land animals that come down to the water to take a drink. Because of their size, these fish are extremely strong. If a fisherman is unlucky enough to fall overboard from his boat, with a mere sideswipe of the Arapaima’s large head, which is solid bone (pictured above), it could cause severe injury, or possibly even death.

According to Wikipedia:

 The arapaima, pirarucu, or paiche are any large species of bonytongue in the genus Arapaima native to the Amazon and Essequibo basins of South America. Genus Arapaima is the type genus of the family Arapaimidae. They are among the world’s largest freshwater fish, reaching as much as 3 m (9.8 ft). They are an important food fish. They have declined in the native range due to overfishing and habitat loss. In contrast, arapaima have been introduced to several tropical regions outside the native range (within South America and elsewhere) where they are sometimes considered invasive species. Its local name, pirarucu, derives from the indigenous words for “pira” meaning “fish” and “urucum” meaning “red”.
The arapaima is torpedo-shaped with large blackish-green scales and red markings. It is streamlined and sleek, with its dorsal and anal fin set near its tail.
 
Arapaima scales have a mineralised, hard, outer layer with a corrugated surface under which lie several layers of collagen fibres in a Bouligand-type arrangement. In a structure similar to plywood, the fibres in each successive layer are oriented at large angles to those in the previous layer, increasing toughness. The hard, corrugated surface of the outer layer, and the tough internal collagen layers work synergistically to contribute to their ability to flex and deform while providing strength and protection—a solution that allows the fish to remain mobile while heavily armored. The arapaima has a fundamental dependence on surface air to breathe. In addition to gills, it has a modified and enlarged swim bladder, composed of lung-like tissue, which enables it to extract oxygen from the air

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