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11 largest freshwater fish in the world

By: Bryan Nelson on Oct. 4, 2010, 11:50 a.m.

Photo: Aaron Gustafson/Flickr

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Recognizable due to their paddle-shaped snout, these shark-like river giants aren't actually related to sharks at all. In fact, paddlefish are actually harmless filter-feeders, opening their mouths to capture zooplankton.

There are two extant species of these creatures, the Chinese paddlefish and the American paddlefish, though unfortunately the Chinese paddlefish (which inhabits the Yangtze River) has not been seen for nearly a decade and is feared extinct. It was the larger of the two species, measuring as long as 9-10 feet in length. American paddlefish inhabit the Mississippi River valley (and once inhabited the Great Lakes too), and can grow to around 5 feet in length.