Arapaima, Arapaima gigas, are powerful fish which can attain lengths of up to 15 feet in the wild. Native to the Amazon River basin in South America, arapaima are fierce predators, sometimes leaping out of the water to grab birds, lizards and even small primates from low-hanging branches.
This is the largest fish found strictly in fresh water. The arapaima is very unique among fish— it can breathe air! They have a very primitive lung. They can take up oxygen through their gills also but they typically live in oxygen-poor waterways and supplement with air breathing.
In this video, you'll see what it's like to SCUBA dive with these prehistoric-looking creatures. Learn more about arapaima and other species featured in the Tennnessee Aquarium's River Giants exhibit at: http://www.tnaqua.org/RiverGiants.aspx