Arowana Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

Identity card


Scientific name:
Osteoglossum bicirrhosum
Year of description:
Cuvier, 1829
IUCN Status:
Not Evaluated

Not evaluated


South America, in the Amazon River basin.


It is found in fresh water, in the Amazon River.


It can grow up to 90 cm in length and reach a maximum weight of 6 kg.


The arowana is omnivorous. It feeds mainly on small fish at the surface, but it also feeds on grasshoppers, ants and bee

Arowana Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

The arowanas at NAUSICAA are encouraged to jump out of the water to catch their food.

By reproducing this natural behaviour, they maintain their musculature as champions of the high jump!

did you know?

To catch its prey, it folds its body into an "S" shape and suddenly flexes to propel itself out of the water, up to a height of more than a metre. If it swims in poorly oxygenated water, it can breathe air directly from the water's surface.

Where is the animal to be found?

The arowana is a freshwater fish that lives in the Amazon River and its major tributaries. It spreads in the flood waters of the Amazon rainforest during the rainy season.

How can it be recognised?

The mouth of the silver arowana is turned upwards to catch prey on the surface.

What is distinctive about it?

With arowana, fertilisation is external. Its particularity lies in the fact that the male collects the fertilized eggs and keeps them in its mouth. Juveniles stay there for a while for protection. The incubation period is 6 weeks, which includes the protection period.

Therefore, the male has a mouth with a fleshy lower lip and small teeth, as opposed to females.

Threat and protective measure

Its trade represents a significant economic asset for the rural population of the Amazon basin.

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?

mankind and shores

Arowana Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

The Ocean Mag

Browse through our Ocean Mag

In the spotlight

Nausicaá forum on the deep sea

Faced with the threat of deep-sea mining, we must join forces to protect the deep seabed!

Faune abyssale ifremer


Life in the depths: how do creatures in the abyss adapt to extreme living conditions?

What are the physical characteristics that allow them to survive in the depths of the ocean?


Reproduction and the preservation of biodiversity

At Nausicaá, reproduction is a necessary step for the preservation of biodiversity.