waters are the natural habitat of thousands of fish. Among these
are the frightening piranha and the "pirarucu", the
giant fish of Amazonian rivers and lakes and the largest freshwater
fish in the world that is known.
- The Piranha
are freshwater tropical fish and only exist in nature in South
America. The name piranha comes from the South American Indian
species of piranha never grow larger than 60 cm (2 feet) long.
Colors vary from silvery with orange undersides to almost completely
black. They have triangular sharp teeth that meet in a scissorlike
bite, and a somewhat exaggerated reputation for their ferocity.
large piranhas have few predators, but they can make a meal for
River Dolphins, Large Catfish and Caymans (South and Central
American Alligators), as well as human and it is said that they
dishes made with piranhas are aphrodisiac. But the worst enemy
of piranha is dry season of the Amazon.
red-bellied piranhas, the black piranhas, the piranhas of the
São Francisco River in Brazil and a species found in the
Paraguay River are considered the most dangerous, or at least
the most frightening species.
very recently, scientists thought that all piranhas were carnivore,
but they have discovered that some of them are more vegetarian
than flesh eaters and eat seeds and fruits that fall into the
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- The Pirarucu
pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) measures about 3 meters (10
feet) in general and weighs about 220 kg (485 pounds). Sometimes
they can reach up to 4m long. It is a fish belonging to a primitive
group of carnivorous bony-tongued fishes, the Osteoglossidae,
that crush their prey with a large tongue studded with teeth.
Amazonian people, use dried pirarucu tongues as seed-graters.
Its scales are large and hard enough to be used as nail files.
They are often made into key-chains and sold as souvenirs. The
fish is also an important protein source for the people who live
along the river. Pirarucu flesh is tender and is used to make
a typical dish of the region, but due to overfishing, it has
become less common in many areas of the Amazon.
other fish that are very common in Brazil, whose flesh is used
to prepare thousands of dishes, are the tuna (Tunnus spp);
the "badejo" (Mycteroperca spp); the nurse shark
(Carcharrhinus spp, Sphyrna spp); the "anchova"
(Pomatomus saltator); the cat-fish (Bagre spp);
the "dourado" (Coryphaena hippurus); and the
"pescada" (Cynoscion spp), with more than 30
species in Brazil. All of these found in the entire Northern
region of Brazil and in the states of Amapá, Pará,
Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná,
Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
very sad about the fishing of the tuna is that many dolphins
are often entrapped on the nets that are used to capture these
fish. I saw a documentary about this some years ago and I was
very sad as I'm a great lover of these beautiful and intelligent
dolphins die because they become entangled in the nets and drawn.
They die by asphyxiation, despite all efforts that are made to
release them, since dolphins are air-breathing mammals. By the
early 1970s, as many as 300,000 or more dolphins may have been
drowned each year in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean.