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Golden Dourada
Brachyplatystoma flavicans

The shimmering 6 foot golden dourada catfish is one of the most beautiful fishes in the world. It also has one of the largest ranges of a strictly freshwater fish: two-thirds of the length of the Amazon River. Biologists believe douradas spawn only in the upper Amazon. In a matter of weeks, the young ride the swift current east 2,700 miles to the mouth of the river, where they find abundant shrimp and small fishes to eat. As they grow they migrate west in large schools.

Douradas are one of the Amazon's principle predators, attacking other fishes in river channels. Unlike most catfishes, which are nocturnal bottom feeders, douradas feed day and night and hunt from near the surface to mid-depth in the river. As they grow to adult size, douradas comtinue the upstream migration, even tackling swift rapids, to reach the Amazon's headwaters at the base of the Andes to spawn. This return trip takes two to three years.

Amazon Rising: Seasons of the River. Shedd Aquarium

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