Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 453–462 | Cite as

Aerial and aquatic feeding in the silver arawana, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

  • Dayv Lowry
  • Alpa P. Wintzer
  • Michael P. Matott
  • Lisa B. Whitenack
  • Daniel R. Huber
  • Mason Dean
  • Philip J. Motta


The silver arawana, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, hunts along shorelines and within flooded forests in the Amazon River basin and supplements its limited consumption of aquatic vertebrates by leaping from the water to obtain terrestrial and arboreal prey. We offered O. bicirrhosum prey both suspended above and submerged below the surface of the water. From high-speed digital recordings, we measured kinematic variables associated with the jaws, cranium, pectoral fins, and body during orientation and prey capture. Aquatic and aerial feeding events were kinematically distinct, with aerial events generally involving faster, larger movements and a distinct delay in the onset of lower jaw depression until the head had left the water. The comparatively large gape during leaping may facilitate prey capture by overcoming variability in the apparent position of the prey due to refraction, while the delayed onset of mouth opening may serve to reduce the effects of drag. This distinctive leaping behaviour allows exploitation of the terrestrial prey base, especially during seasonal inundation of the Amazon River basin when the aquatic food base is widely dispersed.


leaping kinematics Osteoglossomorpha feeding behaviour feeding ecology 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dayv Lowry
    • 1
  • Alpa P. Wintzer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael P. Matott
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lisa B. Whitenack
    • 1
  • Daniel R. Huber
    • 1
  • Mason Dean
    • 1
    • 4
  • Philip J. Motta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaU.S.A.
  2. 2.U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceStocktonU.S.A.
  3. 3.Eckerd CollegeNatural Sciences CollegiumSt. PetersburgU.S.A.
  4. 4.Ecological and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineU.S.A.

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