Monday, June 4, 2012

Giant Pangasuis

Pangasius sanitwongsei
Meet the Giant Pangasuis, who certainly is one monster of a fish! These dwellers of the Mekong and Chao Phraya River basins can grow nearly 10ft long, and they are second in Catfish size only to the Mekong Giant Catfish. The species is also sometimes referred to as the Paroon Shark and the Chao Phraya Giant Catfish.

In the wild, the Giant Panasuis is a migratory creature, moving upstream in order to spawn just before the monsoon season hits. And when it comes to feeding they are technically omnivores, though they tend to consume meat more often then not. Adults live in the large rivers, while juveniles are found in smaller tributaries.

Unfortunately.. like many large fish in developed areas, they are becoming very, very rare. The Giant Pangasuis is now listed as Critically Endangered. Overfishing, habitat loss, pollution, and capture for the (doomed) pet trade have all been factors for their decline. (I say "doomed" because even though hundreds, if not thousands enter the trade, very few actually live to adulthood, due to their demands, size, and skittish nature that can result in injury.) The Catfish have also had religious rites and ceremonies associated with their capture.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : Southeast Asia
Size : Length up to 9ft (2.75m), Weight up to 660lbs (300kg)
Classification : Phylum: Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Siluriformes
Family : Pangasiidae -- Genus : Pangasius -- Species : P. sanitwongsei

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