Pirarucu, Arapaima gigas, The Amazonian Giant Fish Is Briefly Reviewed

Rosiely F. Bezerra
Maria do Carmo F. Soares
Elba V. M. Maciel Carvalho
Luana Cassandra Breitenbach Barroso Coelho, PhD
Departamento de Bioquímica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), Brazil

Series: Fish, Fishing and Fisheries
BISAC: SCI039000



Volume 10

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Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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Pirarucu, Arapaima gigas, is the largest freshwater fish with scales in the world, so called “giant of the Amazon River”. It is a highly rustic fish of primitive origin, which can reach 200 kg body weight and approximately 3 m length in the natural environment. The fish has a high quality of meat without thorns and with low fat, in addition to great flavor; the leather represents 10% of the weight being used as feedstock in the footwear and clothing industry. Pirarucu, native from the Amazon hydrographic basin, has strategies to adapt to daily and annual variations in water level and to distinct environments of the floodplain. Genetic variability studies have been conducted with the purpose to approach pirarucu conservation. A. gigas is considered an air-breathing mandatory fish and shows peculiar characteristics regarding reproduction.

Most studies involving this fish are concentrated on nutrition and reproduction in an attempt to further improve its meat yield as well as to understand the species metabolism. Physiological responses to acute and chronic stress have enhanced the feature of a robust fish. A greater stress load promotes more susceptibility to disease emergence in pirarucu semi-intensive and intensive creation systems. The survey of several parasite species in different pirarucu tissues has given information to prevention of infectious diseases. Great advances have been achieved in A. gigas genetics such as the complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome; on the other hand there were no differences associated with sex chromosomes by cytogenetics. Pirarucu studies promise discoveries since the animal metabolism has many questions to be answered. In this book, we gathered knowledge about pirarucu biology as well as analysis that may contribute to increase interest and a better understanding of the species. (Imprint: Nova)

Preface iii

Chapter 1. Pirarucu Amazonian Fish
(Arapaima gigas)Overview 1

Chapter 2. Taxonomic Classification 3

Chapter 3. Habitat and Genetic Variability 5

Chapter 4. Morphological and Physiological Aspects 8

Chapter 5. Stress Physiological Responses 15

Chapter 6. Other A. gigas Considerations 17



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