New arapaima big fish discovery in Brazil

Researchers have discovered the scales of the freshwater fish Arapaima gigas are made up of stacked spiral staircase-like layers covered in collagen, protected by an outer shell. This image shows the latest species of arapaima, called Arapaima leptosome, that has only just been officially classified

From Wildlife Extra:

A fishy discovery

New species of giant Amazonian fish found

October 2013: A new species of the giant fish arapaima, called A. leptosome, has been discovered in the central Amazon in Brazil, bringing the number of distinct arapaima species to five.

This discovery came when Dr. Donald Stewart of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), examined a preserved arapaima at the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia in Manaus that was collected in 2001 near the confluence of the Solimões and Purus rivers in Amazonas State. He found it was distinguished from other arapaima by several characteristics, including the shape of sensory cavities on the head, a sheath that covers part of the dorsal fin and a distinctive colour pattern.

“Everybody for 160 years had been saying there’s only one kind of arapaima. But we know now there are various species, including some not previously recognized. Each of these unstudied giant fishes needs conservation assessment,” said Dr. Stewart. “Failure to recognize that there are multiple species has consequences that are far reaching. For example, there is a growing aquaculture industry for arapaima, so they are being moved about and stocked in ponds for rearing. Eventually pond-reared fishes escape and, once freed, the ecological effects are irreversible. A species that is endangered in its native habitat may become an invasive species in another habitat. The bottom line is that we shouldn’t be moving these large, predatory fishes around until the species and their natural distributions are better known. Given the uncertainties, precaution is needed.”

See also here.

9 thoughts on “New arapaima big fish discovery in Brazil

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