Amazonian Animals

Amazonian Animals

What is #AAQFeaturedCreature? Each month we will highlight an animal species or group of animals from a particular region in the world, aka our #AAQFeaturedCreature. On our Facebook and website, we will take a “deeper dive” into each animal by sharing interesting, fun facts about them. (Please note: Not all animals highlighted as the #AAQFeaturedCreature are on exhibit at Adventure Aquarium.)

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#AAQFeaturedCreature Facts

  • Piranha literally means “tooth fish” in the language of the Tupí people of Brazil.
  • Did you know that piranha sparkle? Their scales glitter in the sunlight!
  • The ocellate river stingray, also called the peacock-eye stingray, lives in freshwater, can reach 3 feet in length and weigh up to 80 pounds.
  • The ripsaw catfish, native to the Amazon, can grow up to 3 feet and weigh 30 pounds. Its lateral thorns attached to sharp scales can damage potential predators.
  • Arapaima have very hard scales, like heavy armor, which allow them to be mobile and protected from predators.
  • A piranha's bark is as impressive as its bite (yeah, they bark!).
  • All parrots are very vocal, but macaws are one of the loudest. Their loud shrieking calls can be heard from as far as a mile away.
  • The pink-tailed chalceus swims near the Amazon River's surface and can jump out of the water to catch insects. Its pink tail is also pretty fin-tastic.
  • The black pacu, a close relative to the piranha, can reach up to 3.5 feet in length and weigh up to 90 pounds. He eats mainly fruits and seeds, which helps with seed dispersal.
  • As the banded leporinus' age increases, so does the number of bands on its body. It can grow to be a foot long fish making room for those bold bands.
  • The plecostomus, or suckermouth catfish, uses its mouth to stick to a surface and scrape at food, such as algae, plants and small crustaceans.
  • The silver flagtail prochilodus is found in the central Amazon basin in Brazil. It migrates and spawns in the river channels but feeds mostly in the floodplains.
  • Jaguars are the largest of South America's big cats. Unlike many other cats, they do not avoid water but are actually great swimmers.
  • Brown-throated sloths sleep for 15-18 hours a day and spend most of their lives in the high branches of trees. When they are active, for brief periods, they'll walk along the ground and even swim.
  • Uakari monkeys live in the Amazon River basin, preferring flooded rainforests and locations near water sources. They live in large groups called troops, which can consist of close to 100 animals.
  • Did you know the piranha's “man-eating” reputation is greatly exaggerated? In fact, indigenous people of the Amazon often swim in piranha-infested waters without being bitten.