Breath of Clarity

Comment #2: Persuasion and Treatment Wetlands

Original Post by Professor Flanagan:

A very cool, giant fish that lives in the floodplain wetland lakes of the Amazon basin is the Arapaima. They are air breathers so can live in these oxygen depleted riparian wetland lakes. The males are good protective fathers. They hold the fry in their mouths if danger approaches and move them to safer places. Check out the video on this site.

My Comment:

Hi Professor Flanagan,

Interesting that Jeremy Wade mentioned at the beginning that the lake looked particularly quiet before catching the big fish. It leads me to believe that the quietness is a needed characteristic to catch some of the biggest fish such as the Arapaima. It is fascinating that the 150 pound animal can hold the fry in its mouth, breathe and swim all at the same time in oxygen depleted waters. This would be a great video to show for the purpose of generating funds for riparian wetland restoration. Showing any sort of exotic animal being found in these types of wetlands would bring attention to it. The video also has me also wondering what they used for the bait!

Comment by Jennifer Thach:

Wow what a feat to single handedly catch a fish that size! I’m Cambodian so majority of my family resides in Cambodia and every time I would visit overseas, a few of my family members actually had these fish in a large fish tank or in an indoor pond in their homes and I had know idea they were arapaimas! I took a few pictures but overall it was pretty disheartening to see the living conditions that these wild fish were forced to be in. Over there, the scales of these fish were gold/copper colored so this would lead people wanting to “collect them” until they (quickly) grew out of their tanks and ended up getting dumped into rivers – which makes them now an invasive species in Southeast Asia.

Comment by Professor Flanagan:

Hi Jennifer and Mary,

I first saw these fish in an aquarium and I thought they were logs on the bottom until they moved. They were HUGE. They can get to be 10 ft in length. I know what you mean seeing them in an aquarium when they should be swimming free in a large area. They must be really beautiful with gold or copper scales. The ones I saw were red.

Mary, I would think he used fish as bait but these fish eat anything that falls in the water, even fruit, birds, and mammals. I think I would definitely stay in the boat.

My Comment:

The Nature Conservancy just shared this article on LinkedIn about one hour ago. Amazing to see how the concepts that we’re learning about in this course are at the forefront of such a renowned organization’s focus:

Comment by Professor Flanagan:

Great article, Mary. Thanks for sharing.