Arapaima gigas. Photo by Sergio Ricardo de Oliveira
The Amazon's largest fish, Arapaima gigas, is facing extinction. Over-fishing has resulted in dwindling numbers of the unusual, air-breathing fish. Reaching sizes of 10 feet, the fish is a prized catch for fishermen. The arapaima fish has in addition to gills, a primitive lung that allows it to breath oxygen. It is this ability which has enabled the arapaima to survive in oxygen poor waters. Unfortunately, coming up for air makes it easy prey for fisherman. Efforts have been made to protect the arapaima and they have met with success. As the numbers of the various species of arapaima dwindle, fishermen have resorted for different fishing methods, including gill nets to catch smaller fish.
For more information of the Amazon's largest fish and the impact on the local wildlife, visit Livescience.com's article Amazon's Biggest Fish Faces Threat of Extinction.