Arapaimas, the world’s largest freshwater fish, live in tropical South America, especially Brazil and Guyana. They can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh 440 pounds. They breathe air through a primitive lung, and tend to live in oxygen-poor backwaters. Arapaimas have long been an important food source for Amazonian peoples.
Prevailing view among scientists had been that there was only one species of arapaima, but Donald Stewart, professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) has shown that there are actually at least five. He identified and named the newest species Arapaima leptosome.
Donald was quoted stating that aming the new species is important “because it brings attention to the diversity of arapaimas that is out there and that needs to be collected and studied.”
Photo: George Chernilevsky, Wikimedia Commons