Amazon River Species

Contents

Peacock Bass

peacock bass

peacock bass

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Cichlidae (Cichlids) > Cichlinae

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 74.0 cm TL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 6,800g.

Environment
Freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; depth range 5 - ? m.

Climate / Range
Tropical; 24°C - 27°C; 26°N - 9°S

Short description
Diagnosis. Distinguished from all other species of Cichla except C. nigromaculata, C. intermedia, C. piquiti, and C. melaniae, by presence of bars 1a and 2a. Lateral band abbreviated in juveniles. Distinguished from its congeners with abbreviated lateral band by lateral line usually continuous (vs. discontinuous or nearly always discontinuous in orinocensis and nigromaculata); scales in E1 row (67-) 70-80 (-82) (vs. 84-93 in pleiozona); occipital bar absent or indistinct (vs. emphasized in adults of monoculus, kelberi, and pleiozona); abdominal blotches present (vs. absent in orinocensis); vertical bars present in adult size (vs. three midlateral ocellated blotches in orinocensis), except that an ocellated blotch consistently formed in dorsal portion of bar 3; absence of small black blotches on dorsum (vs. present in nigromaculata); vertical bars about equally wide across side (vs. wide, occasionally confluent dorsally, and tapering ventrad in nigromaculata, monoculus, kelberi, and pleiozona). Distinguished from C. intermedia, C. piquiti, and C. melaniae by abbreviated vs. complete juvenile lateral band, less scales in E1 row (67-82 vs. (78) 83-108), and presence of ocellated blotch in dorsal portion of bar 3 vs. absence.

Biology
Peacock Bass occurs in the rapids, in quiet waters with medium depth and rocky substrates. It forms schools; and feeds only on small fish, especially threadfin shad, mosquito fish, tilapia and bluegill. It is not considered ideal for aquaculture due to its highly predatory habits. Reproduction occurs year-round, with a peak at the start of the rainy season. About 9,000 to 15,000 eggs per kg are released during spawning. Spawning take place every two months on a flat stone in shallow waters. The sticky eggs, measuring 1.4 mm in diameter, take 78 hours to hatch at 28°C.

Species of peacock bass in the genus Cichla (the category of fish peacocks belong):

Tucunaré peacock bass (Cichla Temensis)
Tucunare peacock bass Cichla temensis Tucunare peacock bass Cichla temensis species peacock bass cichla temensis paca color phase

"Borboleto" (butterfly) peacock bass (Cichla Orinocensis)
peacock bass cichla orinocensis species-peacock-bass-cichla-orinocensis

Arapaima (Arapaima gigas)

Arapaima GigasArapaima Gigas

The Arapaima fish is also known as the Pirarucu, and is one of the biggest freshwater fish species in the world. Its scientific name is Arapaima gigas. This fish can only be found wild in the Amazon River Basin in South America. It can reach a length of 450 centimeters (177.17 inches) and weigh up to 200 kilograms (440 lbs).

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Osteoglossiformes (Bony tongues) > Arapaimidae (Bonytongues)

Size / Weight / Age
Max length: 450 cm TL male/unsexed; common length: 200 cm TL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 200.0 kg

Environment
Freshwater; demersal; pH range: 6.0 - 6.5; dH range: 10 - ?

Climate / Range
Tropical; 25°C - 29°C; 5°N - 11°S

Distribution
South America: Amazon River basin. International trade is restricted. The active fishing of Arapaima has reduced both the population size, and the occurrence of large individuals, especially around the populated regions of the Amazon.

Biology
It is often referred to as the largest freshwater fish. It builds a nest of about 15 cm depth and 50 cm width in sandy bottoms. Spawns in April and May, and guards the eggs and the young. It is an obligate air breather. The fish rises to the surface of the water and inspires air in a noisy, distinctive gulp, which is reported to carry for long distances.

Aruana, Arawana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum)

aruana

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Osteoglossiformes (Bony tongues) > Osteoglossidae (Arowanas)

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 90.0 cm TL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 6,000 g.

Environment
Freshwater; benthopelagic.

Climate / Range
Tropical; 24°C - 30°C

Distribution
South America: Amazon River basin, Rupununi and Oyapock Rivers.

Short description
Body covered with very big scales; dorsal and anal fins almost fused with the caudal fin; and 2 barbels at the extremity of the lower jaw. Adults are silvery, juvenile with blue glints and a yellow-orange bar.

Biology
It is omnivore with a tendency to feed on fish at the surface. The superior position of the mouth allows it to capture its prey while swimming from below. It also jumps out of the water to feed on large insects (Coleoptera). It is capable of adapting to environments with low oxygen levels.

Bicuda (Boulengerella cuvieri)

bicuda

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Ctenoluciidae (Pike-characids)

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 88.0 cm FL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 6,000 g.

Environment
Freshwater; pelagic

Climate / Range
Tropical

Distribution
South America: Amazon River, Tocantins River, Orinoco River, Essequibo River, Oyapock River [= Oiapoque] and rivers of Amapá and Pará, Brazil.

Short description
Dorsal spines (total): 0; dorsal soft rays (total): 10-11; anal spines: 0; anal soft rays: 9 - 11; vertebrae: 48 - 49. The location of the dorsal fin base distinctly anterior to the vertical through the anal fin origin distinguishes this species from all ctenoluciids except B. lucius and B. xyrekes, from which it can be distinguished by the discrete black spot on the basal portions of the caudal fin rays, and also by different pigmentation on the body.

Biology
It usually inhabits areas with rapid water, always on the surface, behind obstacles like rocks and logs. Some small-sized individuals occur in calmer waters such as lakes, small bays. It occurs solitary or forms small schools. It is a carnivorous fish with preference on fish.

Redtail Catfish (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)

amazon redtail catfishRedtail Catfish

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Siluriformes (Catfish) > Pimelodidae (Long-whiskered catfishes)

Size / Weight / Age
Max length: 134 cm TL male/unsexed; common length: 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 44.2 kg

Environment
Freshwater; demersal; pH range: 5.5 - 6.8; dH range: ? - 10; potamodromous

Climate / Range
Tropical; 20°C - 26°C

Distribution
South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins.

Biology
It occurs in littoral creeks, over sandy bottoms covered with dead leaves. It also inhabits lakes and rivers, but seems to prefer rivers with very slight currents. It prefers a muddy bottom covered with leaves and decaying wood, the latter providing for hiding places during the day. It feeds on fish, crabs and fruits.

Jacunda

amazon jacundaAmazon Jacunda

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Cichlidae (Cichlids) > Cichlinae

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 24.0 cm

Environment
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 5.5 - ?

Climate / Range
Tropical; 25°C - 30°C

Distribution
South America: Amazon River basin, in the Branco, Negro and Uatumã rivers in Brazil; Essequibo River and Branco River in Guyana; Corantijn River in Suriname.

Biology
It is often found in creeks, but it is also sometimes captured in rivers, especially during the dry season. It is a formidable predator; essentially consuming aquatic insects, fish and plant material. It is not very popular among aquarists because of its aggressive behavior.

Tambaqui or Cachama (Colossoma macropomum)

Amazon Tambaqui or Cachama (Colossoma macropomum) Tambaqui or Cachama (Colossoma macropomum)

The tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum) is a freshwater fish of the subfamily Serrasalminae, family Characidae. It is also known by the names pacu, black pacu, black-finned pacu, giant pacu, cachama and gamitana.

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Serrasalmidae
Etymology: Colossoma: Greek, kolos = short, truncated + Greek, soma = body

Size / Weight
Max length: 108 cm / Common length: 70.0 cm / Max. published weight: 40.0 kg

Distribution
South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins as wild form; pisciculture form largely distributed in South America.

Biology
This species is usually solitary. Adults stay in flooded forests during first 5 months of flooding and consume but fruits and grains. Young and juveniles live in black waters of flood plains until their sexual maturity. Feeds on zooplankton, insects, snails and decaying plants. Used in aquaculture because it can live in mineral poor waters and is very resistant to diseases.

Pirapitinga (Piaractus brachypomus)

pirapitinga, red pacu

Piaractus brachypomus (or Colossoma bidens, a synonym that used to be very popular) is an Amazonic pacu, a close relative of piranhas and silver dollars. As with a number of other closely related species, P. brachypomus is often referred to as the red-bellied pacu. This has resulted in a great deal of confusion about the nature and needs of all the species involved, with the reputation and requirements of one frequently being wrongly attributed to the others. An unambiguous name for P. brachypomus is pirapitinga

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Characidae (Characins) > Serrasalminae

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 88.0 cm TL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 25.0 kg. max. reported age: 28 years

Environment
Freshwater; pelagic; pH range: 4.8 - 6.8; dH range: ? - 15

Climate / Range
Tropical; 23°C - 28°C

Distribution
South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins. Reported from Argentina.

Biology
Juveniles mimic Serrasalmus nattereri. It feeds on insects and decaying plants. It possesses powerful dentition that can cause serious bites. It constitutes an important food-fish.

Needle jaw (Acestrorhynchus)

Family: Acestrorhynchidae
Genus: Acestrorhynchus

Size / Weight / Age
They range from 35 to 400 mm in length

Distribution
Acestrorhynchus ("needle jaw") is a genus of 14 species of characiform fish found only in fresh water in South America, the sole genus in the family Acestrorhynchidae. Their greatest diversity is in the Orinoco and Amazon basins. They are found in a variety of habitats, but primarily live in lakes, lagoons, areas near shore, and the smallest species are especially found in small streams (igarapés) of the Amazon basin

These fish have elongated pike-like bodies and large conical teeth, adapted for predation on other types of fish. They are sometimes referred to as freshwater barracudas in the aquarium trade, although the name is used of other characins, as well.

Common names are: cachorinho, cachorro, pez cachorro, pez zorro, pike characin, freshwater barracuda and dientudo.

Piranha

Amazon piranha

piranha

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 41.5 cm SL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 3,000 g

Environment
Freshwater; benthopelagic; pH range: 5.8 - 7.0

Climate / Range
Tropical; 23°C - 27°C

Distribution
South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins, north and eastern Guiana Shield rivers, and northeastern Brazilian coastal rivers.

Biology
It occurs in the rapids but is also captured in deep zones of main rivers with the use of fish bait. It is essentially a carnivore, feeds on small fish, crabs, mammals, lizards and coleopteran insects. Its opportunistic behavior allows it to adapt to various biotopes. It is timid and not aggressive but it possesses powerful dentition that can cause serious bites, and is therefore, potentially dangerous.

Payara (Hydrolycus scomberoides)

Payara, Hydrolycus scomberoides, also known as "Dog Tooth Characin", "Vampire Fish"

The Payara, Hydrolycus scomberoides, also known as "Dog Tooth Characin", "Vampire Fish". Much appreciated sport fish due to the impressive fights they put up. Payara fish is usually considered to be one of the fiercest struggling freshwater fishes, offering a larger fight then other popular fishes from the area such as peacock bass. They also add to the sport of catching them by jumping up and down out of the water in a similar way to salmon.
Payara fish usually hunts in open water rather then at the surface so sinking fish lures such as spoon and jigs are the best choice.

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Cynodontidae (Dogtooth characins) > Cynodontinae

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 117 cm TL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 17.8 kg

Environment
Freshwater; benthopelagic

Climate / Range
Tropical; 24°C - 28°C

Biology
It is apparently carnivorous, probably ichthyophagous. The maximum length is reported to reach 40 cm.

Wolf Fish, Traira and Aimara (Hoplias)

Traira - Hoplius malabaricus tararira

Wolf Fish (Traira in Brazil, Aimara in Venezuela and Suriname) are a mean looking Amazonian fish.  They have jaws of iron with wicked sharp round teeth and have been known to latch onto people who have ventured into their territory. There are two primary species: the smaller malabaricus which grows to around 10lbs and the lacerdae which grows much larger.

Classification / Names
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes (Characins) > Erythrinidae (Trahiras)

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 100.0 cm SL male/unsexed; max. published weight: 40.0 kg

Environment
Freshwater; benthopelagic; potamodromous

Climate / Range
Tropical

Distribution
South America: Tributaries of middle and lower Amazon basin, including the rivers Trombretas, Jari, Tapajós, Xingu, Tocantins, and in the coastal rivers of Guyana, Suriname, Fr Guiana; rivers Araguari and Amapá, state of Amapá, Brazil; lower reaches of Orinoco River, Venezuela.

Biology
It frequently occurs in counter current zones of principal rivers and creeks. It feeds mainly on fish but also on other animals that fall into the water like small terrestrial invertebrates. Is active at dusk and at night. Reproduction takes place at the onset of the rainy season from December to March. Depending on the size, the female can carry around 6,000 to 60,000 eggs. It is known for the quality of its flesh.

 

Catch and Release - Almost every single fish pictured in this article and throughout our website was safely returned to the water after being photographed. On rare occasions, a specimen may be injured or selected for our table. We never sacrifice rare or large specimens. We firmly believe in catch and release fishing and we do everything in our power to preserve and protect the remarkable natural wonders that it is our privilege to enjoy.

Data taken from: FishBase.org, Wikipedia.org.