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Amazon Exotic Species

A guide to the exotic fish species
encountered on our Amazon fishing trips

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AruanaOsteoglossum Bicirrhosum—(Cuvier, 1829)

Exotic Amazon fish species Aruana

An interesting target for anglers, especially on light tackle, aruana are found in a wide-range of water types. They have earned the epithet, monkey-fish (macaco da agua) due to their penchant for leaping out of the water to pluck unsuspecting insects and even small birds from overhanging branches. They will strike both surface and subsurface baits as well as well-presented flies.

Where to catch: Variety Floating Bungalow trip

ID Key: Large scales, laterally compressed, ribbon-like body and large, gaping, oblique mouth with barbels on chin

Identification Keys
Bars and Markings Colors Size Key Characters Similar Species
The body is relatively uniform and free of markings. Individual scales however, contain subtle gradations of color. Due to their large size, they create a reticulated effect overlying the background color. Ranging from silvery to brassy. Abdomen lighter. Reticulate pattern of color on glossy scales creates a network of pink to purplish color. Adults: up to almost 1 meter and exceeding 11 pounds. barbels on lower jaw
elongate, laterally compressed body
small tail w/extended dorsal and anal fins
large oblique jaw
large scales
Two species of aruana are found in the Amazon basin.
O. bicirrhosum is widespread, while
a smaller species,
O. ferreirai, is restricted to the Rio Negro basin.
Angler's Summary
Known Range Behavior Notes Habitat Common Names IGFA records
Countries: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Fr. Guiana.
River Basins: Amazon, Rupununi and Oyapock drainages
The Aruana is known to be a mouthbrooder, with the male caring for the young. Aruana exploit a wide variety of food types, stomach content studies found insects, crustaceans, terrestrial vertebrates (birds, reptiles and small mammals), fish, and even plant material. Inhabits the flooded forest during high water and concentrates in lagoons and lakes during low water. Often found very close to shore. Sometimes in occurs open water in small schools of up to 50 fish. English: Arrowana
Brazil: Aruana

Fishing Tactics

Inhabiting similar waters, aruana are often caught by peacock bass anglers. Aruana readily take most of the same baits, including walking stick baits, jigs, swimming plugs and even the occasional prop bait. They will also readily strike a fly. Anglers can target them by sight fishing, since they are often readily visible near the surface and under overhanging limbs. On occasion small schools swimming near the surface can be encountered in open water, where they make a ready target for a well-cast lure. A pleasure on a fly rod.

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