Explore by Animal

Asian Arawana

If you see a fish with a mouth full of yellow M&Ms, it’s most likely an Asian arawana (Scleropages formosus). But those round objects are neither chocolate, peanut, nor almond. They’re eggs.

These fish are mouth brooders, and it’s Dad who is the incubator and babysitter, protecting the young in his ample mouth until they no longer fit. Then the kids go off to feed on insects that skim the water’s surface.

Adults also cruise at the surface, their large eyes alert for fishes, frogs, tadpoles and crayfish. They can even leap their body length — up to 3 feet — out of the water to nab large insects on half-submerged logs or on the riverbank.

Once common in forested streams, Asian arawanas are now listed as endangered because of habitat loss. See this shimmering silver-gold fish in the Rivers gallery of Waters of the World.

See more photos, video and stories of other Shedd fishes in the Interactive section.

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