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9 Facts about the Biggest Arapaima gigas river monsters

arapaima fish

The world’s largest Arapaima gigas river monsters can breed up to 200 kg in weight and up to 4.5 meters in length. This animal is found in the Amazon River, Brazil, South America.

Arapaima is one of the largest living freshwater fish species in the world. They belong to the Heterotidinae subfamily and have the scientific name Arapaima Gigas.

For local residents, Arapaima gigas is known as pirarucu or paiche. This species is expertly known to be highly invasive, so it is prohibited to be released outside its habitat.

In Indonesia, fish of the order Osteoglossiformes are even banned by the government for the public to keep. Want to know the reason? 

For information, the arapaima fish is native to the tropics. Breeding in Indonesia is

considered very possible because it suits their natural habitat.

If so, why is the fish classified as a dangerous animal? Besides being invasive, here are some interesting facts about the world’s largest arapaima fish.

1. Has an Anatomical Structure Similar to Ancient Animals

Arapaima gigas river monsters
Arapaima gigas river monsters

The first fact of the arapaima fish is that its species has an anatomy similar to ancient animals. Because of this, this fish is also called a living fossil or living fossil.

The scientific name pirarucu was published by a Swiss scientist, Heinrich Rudolf Schinz, in 1822. However, this animal has lived since the Jurassic period.

2. Known as Strong and Very Greedy

arapaima gigas river monsters
arapaima gigas river monsters

Seeing its body size, it’s not surprising that the arapaima fish is said to have a high appetite and very strong energy.

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They can eat almost any animal that fits their mouth size. Their strength is also an expert signalman capable of overturning fishing boats.

Even apart from human activity, the extinction of local fish and damage to the ecosystem of the Amazon River is more or less influenced by the greed of these predators, you know.

3. The largest species is very rare

he discovery of the largest arapaima fish in the world has shocked the public, but this has passed hundreds of years ago and has never been repeated.

The 4.5-meter A. gigas species was discovered in the mid-18th century. After that the fish that appeared tended to be the same size, that is, no more than 2.5 meters.

4. Has a Very Thick Skin Surface

arapaima gigas
arapaima gigas

Arapaima fish skin is considered very thick. Its reddish-black outer scales are mineralized, and have a hard, bumpy surface.

At the bottom of the scales there are several layers of collagen fibers. It is effective against punctured sharp objects such as piranha fish teeth.

Thanks to its thick skin surface, the arapaima fish is even able to survive in various layers of the river, both the deepest and the shallowest.

5. Able to survive even without water

arapaima gigas monster
arapaima gigas monster

The bladder contained in the body of the arapaima fish can be modified. This is useful as the lungs to breathe, especially when water conditions are minimal.

The swim bladder is the term, with this ability, the pirarucu group is able to survive in oxygen-poor waters or for 24 hours without water!

6. Can Hunt Land and Air Animals

Not only the king in fresh waters, the species A. gigas is in fact quite “scared” by groups of land and air animals.

How could it not be, this one fish can prey on flocks of birds, grasshoppers, and frogs, as well as various land and air animals around its habitat.

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Thanks to its slender body size and strong energy, the arapaima is able to jump and prey on other animals that are above the surface of the water.

7. Cannot Hurt but Dangerous to Humans

So far, experts have not found any reports of arapaima fish attacking humans.

Even when the largest arapaima fish in the world is found, the animal does not attack humans because of its aggressive nature, but as an attempt to escape.

However, that doesn’t mean we can keep arapaima fish. According to studies, these fish are capable of transmitting protozoan parasites which are harmful to humans.

8. Has Delicious and Efficacious Meat

In their natural habitat,  pirarucu are often hunted and traded as food raw materials. Their meat is known to be quite delicious and has various benefits.

From just one individual, we have the potential to get 70 kg of arapaima fish meat with selling prices ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands of rupiah.

Apart from that, ordinary people also believe that arapaima meat can be used as a medicine to kill intestinal worms when combined with guarana.

9. Classified as Protected Animals

Planning to hunt the world’s largest arapaima fish? Think about it again, okay?

Based on local regulations, this fish is classified as a protected animal, so all forms of hunting and trading are prohibited by the government.

There are legal consequences, you know, if we violate these provisions.

After all, the arapaima fish population experts believe is dwindling. If it continues to be hunted, it is not impossible that the species will become extinct in the near future.

Those are some interesting facts about the world’s largest arapaima fish.

After reading the reviews above, are you interested in witnessing these fish swimming in their habitat?

Nooru Ariyoushi

Nooru Ariyoushi

Nooruariyoushi has been a fish hobbyist for 20 years and is now a blog writer sharing information about fish and how to care for them.


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