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Introduction to Arapaima

Arapaima is a species of freshwater fish found in the Amazon River basin in South America. Also known as the “pirarucu” in Brazil, this fish has been a favorite sustenance for humans since ancient times and has even been believed to possess supernatural powers. It is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, weighing up to 200-220 pounds (90-100kg).

Appearance and Characteristics

Arapaima has an elongated body, with a large head, long mouth and an aerodynamic shape which helps it to swim long distances with ease. Its body is usually olive-green or grayish in color, and can sometimes be barred with orange and yellow bands. On the lower side of its body is a rudder-like organ which helps it to steer in the water. It has large and heavy scales and four barbels located near its mouth. These barbels are sensitive to touch and are used by the fish to search for food on the bottom of rivers and lakes.

Habitat and Diet

The Arapaima lives in the main channels of the Amazon River, Paraguay River and some of its tributaries. It usually feeds off the bottom of the river, preying on other fish, insects, crustaceans and mollusks. During the dry season, when the water levels decrease, they can also be found near the river banks and the shallows.

Arapaima two

Threats to Arapaima

Due to its size and economic value, Arapaima has become a highly sought after species. Overfishing has been a major cause of the reduction in its population and has led to its endangered status. In addition, the popularity of aquaculture is also threatening the species’ existence. As more arapaima is being raised, wild populations become more susceptible to predation, competition and disease.

Conservation Efforts

The Brazilian government has taken precautions to protect the Arapaima, saying that it is illegal to catch the fish, which has led to the implementation of numerous conservation areas across the Amazon basin. Other organizations such as the IUCN, have also been advocating for the protection of Arapaima and its habitat.


The Arapaima is a giant species of freshwater fish found in South American rivers. Its large size and economic value make it a highly sought after species by both humans and predators. Unfortunately, this species is currently in danger due to the overexploitation of its resources and the popularity of fish farming. In order to protect this unique species, conservation efforts must be made in order to protect its habitat and its population.

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