. Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Institution. Archives; Discoveries in science. 486 PARENTAL CARE AMONG FRESH-WATER FISHES. to Castelnaii, a medium length of about 8 feet (2.50 meters), and one of that size is said to weigh about 330 pounds (150 kilograms). Occasionally, however, a much greater size is attained. Schomburgk " was assured by the inhabitants of the Rio Negro that they have caught some 15 feet long and of 12 to 13 arrobas (410 pounds) weight." These accounts are obviously discrepant. If a fish 8

- Image ID: RM2WFR
. Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Institution. Archives; Discoveries in science. 486 PARENTAL CARE AMONG FRESH-WATER FISHES. to Castelnaii, a medium length of about 8 feet (2.50 meters), and one of that size is said to weigh about 330 pounds (150 kilograms). Occasionally, however, a much greater size is attained. Schomburgk " was assured by the inhabitants of the Rio Negro that they have caught some 15 feet long and of 12 to 13 arrobas (410 pounds) weight." These accounts are obviously discrepant. If a fish 8
Library Book Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: RM2WFR
. Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian Institution. Archives; Discoveries in science. 486 PARENTAL CARE AMONG FRESH-WATER FISHES. to Castelnaii, a medium length of about 8 feet (2.50 meters), and one of that size is said to weigh about 330 pounds (150 kilograms). Occasionally, however, a much greater size is attained. Schomburgk " was assured by the inhabitants of the Rio Negro that they have caught some 15 feet long and of 12 to 13 arrobas (410 pounds) weight." These accounts are obviously discrepant. If a fish 8 feet long weighs 330 pounds, one 15 feet long, having the same pro- ]-)ortions, v^ould weigh nearly, if not quite, a ton. Undoubtedly Castelnau exaggerated the weight of a fish 8 feet long; Schomburgk more nearly approximated the truth by attributing to a fish " C to 7 feet " long a Aveight of "" not less than 150 pounds.". The natives claim that the mother takes charge of the eggs and Avatches over them with great care, protecting them especially against the male, who seeks to devour them. " The voung," it is further as-. PiG. 71.—Tlie Pirarucu iAniixiiiiia yigas). Head enlarged. After Valenciennes. serted, " are protected by the mother for some time after they leave the eggs," and they " swim generally over her head." Both Castelnau and Schomburgk record this liclief of the natives, but it is i:)robable they Avere misled by preconceived notions and knoAvledge of what birds do. It is likely (but not absolutely certain) that the male takes charge of the eggs, as in the case of most fishes. The pirarucu was ascertained by Agassiz (18()8) to be '' found almost everywhere " in the Amazon Valley and to be " the most im- portant fish of the river, that Avhich, as food, corres])onds to cattle for the population along the banks." Castelnau records (1855) that its flesh, supplemented by that of the manatee, serves
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