Category: FRESH WATER FISHES


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Prochilodontidae (Flannel-mouth characiforms)

Genus/species: Semaprochilodus taeniurus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Flagtail Prochilodus silvery body is laterally compressed. The caudal fin is horizontally striped with 6+ black bands, alternating with deep gray bands.  

Length to 24 cm (9.5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: S. taeniurus is found in the Amazon basin and its tributaries such as the Rio Negro. It migrates and spawns in river channels but feeds mostly in the floodplains.

DIET IN THE WILD: Periphyton (a complex mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, microbes and detritus that is attached to surfaces in most aquatic ecosystems).

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Red List Least concern

                                   CITES: Not Evaluated. S. taeniurus is one of the most common fish in the Amazon basin and the most abundant.

flagtail prochilodusFllagtail Prochilodus Semaprochilodus insignis (Prochilodontidae) Flannel-mouthed Characins IMG_3094

REMARKS: They have two stomachs. One filled with mud and likely designed to process and  digest detritus.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8532474845/in/set-72157620568438047

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Se

fishbase  www.fishbase.us/summary/11898

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1010276/details

General info on Characins. https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/26770704548/in/dateposted-public/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Gymnotiformes (Knifefishes)
Family: Gymnotidae (Naked-back knifefishes)

Genus/species: Electrophorus electricus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: This eels (knifefishes) body is elongated and cylindrical, almost without scales; head flattened; mouth large with one row of conical teeth on each jaw; presence of three abdominal pairs of electric organs. The color is dark with anterior ventral part yellowish. They have a very long anal fin.

Large up to 2.5 m (8 feet). Weight up to 20 kg (44 pounds)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical. Amazon Basin: Orinoco, and related areas in northern South America. Found in lowland backwaters and muddy river bottoms, never fast-flowing waters. During daylight, retreats to recessed hiding places shared with conspecifics.

DIET IN THE WILD: E. electricus juveniles eat invertebrates such as shrimp; adults prey on fish and small mammals.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Life span: in captivity males to 15 years, females to 20+

 

REPRODUCTION: E. electricus  males construct foam nests and guard the growing larvae. First-born larvae prey on other eggs and embryos coming from late spawning batches. In mid-January when the first seasonal rains flood the breeding area, causing the about 10 cm long young eels to disperse.

REMARKS: NOT A TRUE EEL. True eels lack pectoral and pelvic fins. Unlike “true” eels in the Order Anguilliformes, they are obligate air breathers, taking up to 80% of their oxygen directly from the air, an adaptation for survival in poorly oxygenated water. The long undulating anal fin allows the electric eel to move backwards or forwards.

Though not an aggressive fish, can produce enough voltage to severely injure humans. If an electric eel fires a series of charges, each successive charge is less powerful. Aquarists stimulate several discharges before attempting to handle the animal safely. These eels also have two other, much smaller sets of electric organs, used for orientation, finding prey.
Active nocturnally.

The long undulating anal fin allows the electric eel to move backwards or forwards. About half the musculature has been converted into electric organs which produce up to 650 V. These eels use their electricity to stun the fish they prey upon, as well as for defense.

As the eel (knifefish) matures it develops cataracts leading to blindness relying only on its electrical senses. (Similar to the elephant fish with poor vision).

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Least Concern.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Amazon 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3787082075/in/set-72157608376694453/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-bh

fishbase http://www.fishbase.org/summary/4535

Encyclopedia of life  http://eol.org/pages/206595/details

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes)
Subclass: Elasmobranchii (sharks, rays and skates)
Order: Myliobatiformes
Family: Potamotrygonidae (river stingrays)

Genus/species: Potamotrygon motoro

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Orange-spot Stingrays have an oval disc, with a greyish-brown upper surface patterned with distinct yellow-orange spots, and a white underside. Like most rays, flat teeth are used to grip and crush prey that is sucked into the ventral mouth. Note periscoping eyes which protrude from sand when buried. Olfaction is a major and well-developed means of perception for these stingrays; their olfactory organs are situated in laterally placed cartilaginous capsules on the top of the head. The spine on the tip of the tail is capable of delivering a painful sting.  Rays have an accessory respiratory opening, the Spiracle which is an adapted gill slit which has migrated to the top of the stingray. When the stingray is resting on the bottom the spiracle allows them to breathe.

Length up to 1 m (3 ft.) and weight up to 15 kg (33 lb.)

 

DISTRIBUTION: South America: Uruguay, Paraná- Paraguay, Orinoco, and Amazon Basins.

HABITAT: P. motoroare found in freshwater calm waters, especially on the sandy margins of lagoons, brooks and streams. They able to tolerate only a narrow range of salinities. Lost ability to retain urea decreasing osmolarity for fresh water unlike salt water relatives.

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed mostly on benthic hard-shelled invertebrates, such as clams, mussels, and crustaceans and also on worms, insect larvae, and small fishes.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization is internal with the male attaches himself to a female by firmly clamping his jaws onto the posterior margin of her disk, sometimes leaving prominent bite marks. Females produce eggs that hatch inside the female and are then ‘born’ live after a gestation period of no more than three months. The litter size varies, from 3 to 21 young.

LIFESPAN: Maximum of 15 years in captivity.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list Data Deficient (DD)

REMARKS: P. motoro is one of the seven species of this genus inhabiting southern South America.

The Operculum pupillare inside the eye which controls the amount of light entering the eye. In dim light it will retract allowing greater light in and better vision at night.

They are not dangerous unless stepped on or threatened.

Fishermen also harpoon these rays during floods when they are found resting over vegetation in shallow water. P.motoro apparently has delicious meat.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Forest Floor 2018

Ron’s flickr river stingrays  https://freshwaterstingrays.co.uk/category/freshwater-stingray-facts/

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3407966512/in/album-72157608387905158/

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Potamotrygon-motoro.html

ARKive  www.arkive.org/ocellate-river-stingray/potamotrygon-motoro/

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/205366/details

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/39404/0

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1tm

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids)
Subfamily: Cichlasomatinae

Genus/species: Hypselecara temporalis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Chocolate Cichlid is an egg-shaped fish with a small mouth. The eye iris may range in color from amber-gold to bright red. Body color is a mustard-yellow with a large, characteristic black blotch at the mid-section of the body and often a horizontal stripe. On the caudal peduncle are some similar, but smaller markings. The belly and throat regions are bright red as is the area near the gill covering and the surrounding parts of the eye. The fins are red with some mustard-yellow areas.  

Length up to 15 cm, (5-8 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in South America: Amazon River basin In slow flowing, turbid waters.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on insects at or above the surface.

REPRODUCTION: H. temporalis sexes are separate. Adult males grow larger and have a hump on their head. Fertilization external. Eggs are deposited upon vertical substrates and guarded by both parents. 

 

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List and CITES: Not Evaluated

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/12323

 eol Encyclopedia of life http://eol.org/pages/212750/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink:  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-b0

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15442981620/in/set-72157620568438047/

TAXONOMY:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes),
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids).

Genus/species: Heros appendiculatus aka Heros efasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The compressed body is silvery; five black vertical bars punctuate the lower half of its flanks, a sixth extends to its dorsal fin. (Wild type: wild-type olive-green)

Length up to 14 cm (5.5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Native to the Amazon River basin to Upper Orinoco River drainage in Colombia and Venezuela. Green Severum are found in lakes, standing water, or slow-moving water with copious vegetation. Look for young around tree roots.

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed on fruits, seeds, green algae and detritus.

REPRODUCTION: H. appendiculatus are guarders, clutch tenders. Up to 1000 eggs are depoited on flat stones or on roots; both parents participate in caring for eggs and larvae.

Green Severum (juvenile) below

 

 

References:

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Ron’s WordPress shortlink: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-9x

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8358691491/in/set-72157620568438047/

 fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/52199

 Encyclopedia of life  eol.org/pages/203885/details

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfish)
Family :Pimelodidae (Long-whiskered catfishes)

Genus/species: Phractocephalus hemiliopterus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They are named for their orange-red caudal fin. The snout is rounded with three pairs of barbels around the mouth. The base body color is light black and little dark spots can be seen on the head. A wide, white band extends from the caudal peduncle to the tip of the snout. The belly is black, as are the fins except the upper tip of the dorsal fin which may be orange to red.

Length up to 134 cm (4.5 feet). Weight up to 44 kg (97 lbs)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: P. hemiliopterus is native to South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins. They are found in large freshwater rivers, streams and lakes.

DIET IN THE WILD: Fish, crabs and fruit

REPRODUCTION: They exhibit external fertilization and do not guard the eggs. 

LONGEVITY: Approximately 20 to 30 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list and CITES: Not Evaluated.

REMARKS: P. hemiliopterus has been introduced, but is not established in Florida, perhaps a good thing as the redtail is a voracious predator on smaller fishes. Because of its size it is a popular game fish.

Unfortunately, the Steinhart inhabitants of our open-topped tank have swallowed shoes, cameras, sunglasses, a plastic dinosaur and cell phones, occurrences that have occasionally required manual (and extremely careful) extraction by a biologist or the veterinarian.

References 

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Phractocephalus-hemioliopterus.html

California Academy of Sciences Rainforest Docent Training Class 2014

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3313914505/in/set-72157620568438047/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-91

EOL eol.org/pages/344961/details

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Anostomidae (Headstanders)

Genus/species: Leporinus fasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Black-Banded Leporinus has alternating colored bands of black and yellow. This striking pattern also suggests the age of a fish. Until about a year old, the juvenile has only five black bands, but about every six months later a band will split in two. At three years, the leporinus will have 10 bands, and the yellow will have a more orange cast. Females are larger than males.

Length up to 30 cm (12 in); 15 cm (6 in) is more common

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Widely distributed in South America, from Guiana and the Orinoco region to the La Plata basin. Its natural habitat is rocky areas of fast-flowing streams and rivers, though it often migrates into flooded forest areas during the rainy season.

L.fasciatus has been introduced into the US states of Florida and Hawaii.

 

DIET IN THE WILD: Small invertebrates such as worms, insects, and crustaceans as well as other fish and plant matter. Like all members of its family, L. fasciatus very often positions itself had down (headstanders) to feed in rocky crevices or nibble on algae and green plants.

REPRODUCTION: The species is reported to build nests where the female lays eggs, which are guarded by the male. (fishbase)

MORTALITY and LONGEVITY: Life span: 5 years or more.

 

CONSERVATION: IUCN Redlist and CITES; Not Evaluated 

REMARKS: Leporinus (”rabbit”) relates to this fish’s two prominent front teeth The species is also known to leap out of the water, so perhaps its name has more than one reference point!

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Leporinus-fasciatus.html

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-9j

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2973195125/in/set-72157620568438047/

EOL www.eol.org/pages/220772/details


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Family: Characidae (Characins)
Subfamily: Serrasalmidae

Genus/species: Piaractus brachypomus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Body is deep and laterally compressed, with silvery sides (becoming darker approaching the dorsum) and red coloration on the belly, chin, pectoral fins, and occasionally the leading rays of the anal fin. As in other characin species, a small, unrayed adipose fin is present approximately midway between the dorsal and caudal fins. The remaining rayed fins are uniformly dark-colored.

Length up to 88 cm (34.65 inches) Weight up to 25 kg (55.07 lb)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical. South America: Amazon and Orinoco River basins in open water of large rivers and seasonally flooded forests. Pacu are a popular aquaculture species around the world.

DIET IN THE WILD: The dentition is comprised of 2 series of molariform incisors located on the premaxilla and 1 row of dentary teeth. The Red-bellied Pacu feeds on insects and decaying fruits and vegetation that fall in water.

REPRODUCTION: External fertilization. Although parents abandon their eggs, Pacu are brood hiders, minimizing the chances of the clutch being discovered by predators.

PREDATION: Humans and possibility Pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) and Black caiman (Melanosuchus niger).

Lifespan up to 25+ years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list; Not evaluated CITES No special status

REMARKS: Because the Red-Bellied Pacu are closely related to Piranha, sharing their coloration and shape, Hollywood producers have been known to use the Pacu as a stand-in for piranha. Actors are appreciative of the Pacu’s preference for vegetable matter.

Pacu’s dentition allows them to crush fruit, nuts and seeds. Their teeth are cusped and resemble human molars, and they also have very powerful jaw. P. brachypomus can cause serious human bites of protruding anatomy.

Like the Tambaqui the Pirapitinga, is an important aquacultured food fish in South America.

All Pacu species are known for being able to adjust to unfavorable environmental conditions, such as depleted oxygen levels. Protrusion of the lower lip, all of which facilitate the use of surface water in respiration.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1oN

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/6502615125/in/set-72157620568438047

 fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/5808

 Animal Diversity Web ADW http://animaldiversity.org/ac  counts/Piaractus_brachypomus/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Serrasalmidae

Genus/species: Colossoma macropomum

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:

The Black Pacu body is laterally compressed with an arched back. Color is basically gray to olive above, dark below often with spots and blemishes in the middle. All fins are black. It is the second heaviest scaled freshwater fish in South America (after the Arapiama)

Length up to 100 cm (40 inches) Weight up to 30 kg (66 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins as wild form; aquacultured form widely distributed in South America. Found in open water of large rivers and seasonally flooded forests. Young stay in black waters of flood plains until maturity. Has been introduced to Thailand and is established

DIET IN THE WILD: Pacu teeth in front are molars for chewing, NOT ripping. Good for eating fruits, greens and grain during seasonal flooding. Also feeds on zooplankton, insects, snails and decaying plants
ACADEMY DIET: Fruit, pears apples and bananas. (Allan Jan, biologist).

REPRODUCTION: Black Pacu aka Tambaqui usually spawn once per year in whitewater rivers and inundated floodplain forests. They are substratum egg scatterers and do not guard their eggs.

Life span: 20 years or more.

IUCN Red List and CITES Not Evaulated

REMARKS: C. macropomum has large nasal openings for excellent odor detection.
They can extend the lower lip in low oxygen water to increase flow across gills.
Adults are important as seed dispersers for large-seeded plants during seasonal flooding.
Farmed as a food fish in South America. They are popular in aquaculture because it can live in mineral poor waters and is very resistant to diseases.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/263

Docent Rainforest Course Materials, California Academy of Sciences. 2014

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-8v

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2973190705/in/set-72157620568438047/

United Nations www.fao.org/fishery/introsp/3885/en

 



TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Osteoglossiformes
Family: Osteoglossidae (Bonytongues)

Genus/species: Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The silvery body is covered with very big scales, and the dorsal and anal fins are almost fused with the caudal fin. They have a bony tongue with a huge oblique mouth and oral bones bearing teeth, including the jaw, palate, tongue and pharynx. Two barbels are found at the end of the lower jaw.

The Silver Arawana is a large fish with a length up to 1.2 m (4 ft) and weight up to 4.6 kg (10 lbs).

Silver ArawansIMG_1974

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: This fish is found in tropical freshwater, and is especially prevalent in flooded areas and swamps in the Amazon River system. It is capable of adapting to environments with low oxygen levels.

DIET IN THE WILD: O. bicirrhosum feed mainly on crustaceans, insects, smaller fishes, and other animals that float on the water; its upturned mouth is an adaptation for surface feeding. Sometimes called the “water monkey” for its jumping abilities, Silver Arawana have been known to leap some 2 m (6.5 ft) out of the water to pluck a surprised and often doomed insect or bird from overhanging branches. Bats and snakes have also been occasionally found as stomach contents.

REPRODUCTION: Interestingly, the Arawana male is a mouth brooder carrying eggs, larvae, and young juveniles in his mouth for about 2 months.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Not Evaluated
CITES: No special status

REMARKS: Arawana provide the largest source of protein in comparison to other Amazon fish. Also, because of its low-fat content, they are considered the most digestible and least likely to bring about sickness.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15007803584/in/album-72157620568438047/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-a0

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Osteoglossum-bicirrhosum.html

 Animal Diversity web animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Osteoglossum_bici…

 “It’s Easy Being Green” Docent Course. California Academy of Sciences 2014

 

 

 

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