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The giant pangasius, Paroon Shark or Chao Phraya giant catfish (Pangasius sanitwongsei) is a species of freshwater fish in the shark catfish family (Pangasiidae) of order Siluriformes, found in the Chao Phraya and Mekong basins in Indochina. Its populations have declined drastically, mainly due to overfishing, and it is now considered Critically Endangered.
The giant pangasius is pigmented with dusky melanophores. It has a wide, flat, whiskerless head. It has a silver, curved underside and a dark brown back. Its dorsal, pectoral and pelvic fins are dark gray and the first soft ray is extended into a filament. Full-grown adults can reach 300 centimetres (120 in) SL in length and weigh up to 300 kg (660 lb).
Relationship to humans
Fishing of this species used to be accompanied by religious ceremonies and rites. It is often mentioned in textbooks, news media, and popular press. This fish is a popular food fish and marketed fresh.
These fish sometimes appear in the aquarium fish hobby. Most specimens do not reach their full size without an extremely large aquarium or pond. There is even a "balloon" form of this fish where the fish has an unusually short and stocky body.
- Jenkins, A., Kullander, F.F. & Tan, H.H. (2007). Pangasius sanitwongsei. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2009-11-24.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Pangasius sanitwongsei" in FishBase. February 2012 version.
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