The Asian Arowana comprises several phenotypic varieties of freshwater fish distributed geographically across Southeast Asia. While most consider the different varieties to belong to a single species, work by Pouyaud et al. differentiates these varieties into multiple species.
Scientific name: Scleropages formosus
Conservation status: Endangered (Population decreasing)
Asian arowanas are considered to be symbols of good luck and prosperity, especially by those from Asian cultures. This reputation derives from the species’ resemblance to the Chinese dragon, considered an auspicious symbol. The large metallic scales and double barbels are features shared by the Chinese dragon, and the large pectoral fins are said to make the fish resemble “a dragon in full flight.
In addition, positive feng shui associations with water and the colors red and gold make these fishes popular for aquaria. One belief is that while water is a place where chi gathers, it is naturally a source of yin energy and must contain an “auspicious” fish such as an arowana to have balancing yang energy. Another is that a fish can preserve its owner from death by dying itself.
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