Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday
Photo by Manuela Kirschner
The Amazonas is the home of 3 million species, which is 10% of all species worldwide. One of them is this prehistoric looking creature, an Arapaima. This fish, native in the upper Amazon Basin, has lived on earth for 150 million years. Also known as the paiche or the pirarucu, the arapaima is an air-breathing fish that plies the rainforest rivers of South America's Amazon Basin and nearby lakes and swamps. They have primitive lungs which allows them to breathe air from the surface and gills that allow them to breathe underwater. Their bodies have adapted due to the low oxygen levels in their habitat. Though arapaimas can stay underwater for 10 to 20 minutes, they tend to remain near the water's surface, where they hunt and emerge often to breathe with a distinctive coughing noise. One of the world's largest freshwater fish, these giants can reach 9 feet long and weigh up to 440 pounds. The arapaima does not bite with its jaw but uses its tongue which is covered with teeth against the roof of its mouth.