|Subseries:||Characiphysi Fink et Fink, 1981|
Common piranha (Latin Pygocentrus nattereri) is a species of predatory ray-finned fish from the subfamily piranha (Serrasalminae) of the haracin family (Characidae) or (according to another classification) the family of piranha (Serrasalmidae).
This is one of the most famous species of piranhas, has a reputation as a freshwater predator dangerous to animals. For a living person, they do not pose a danger in connection with the size and timidity of the piranhas themselves. source not specified 692 days
The body length is about 15 cm, the maximum is 50 cm. The maximum body weight is 3.9 kg.
All piranhas have large mouths with prominent sharp teeth. Types of piranhas differ in color: most fish are olive-green or black with a blue back, and the belly and sides are dark or silver-gray.
Flat, wedge-shaped teeth with sharp apices dig into the victim’s stiff skin. The teeth of both jaws have the same structure. Smaller upper teeth with closed mouth are placed between the lower teeth. The jaws are powered by powerful muscles. The lower jaw is advanced, the teeth are bent back. The teeth on the lower jaw reach a length of 1-2 mm.
Piranhas are kept in huge swarms that spend most of their time in search of prey. These typically river fish can be found at sea during floods. However, piranhas cannot spawn in the sea. These fish are quite voracious, therefore they can live only in rivers abounding with fish. Most often they are found in shallow water, at great depths and in muddy water.
Piranhas, when catching prey, rely on speed and surprise. Sometimes they watch for the victim in a shelter, from where they attack when the opportunity arises: the whole flock rushes at it and devours, with each fish acting independently of the other members of the flock. But in history there has not been a single reliable case of a piranhas attack on a fatal person. But this does not mean that these fish never bite a person or an animal that has entered the water. And this behavior is almost always caused not by the aggressive behavior of the fish, but by self-defense or abnormal weather conditions, due to which the behavior of piranhas begins to differ sharply from normal. Piranhas swiftly attack the victim with the whole flock. Fish subjected to such an attack panic and try to flee in all directions, but fast piranhas catch them one at a time - they swallow the whole ones, and tear off pieces of meat from large prey, which they immediately swallow in order to revert to the victim. A flock of adult piranhas destroys everything that occurs in her path, males even pull out aquatic vegetation. Scientists have found, however, that piranhas do not touch healthy catfish of the genus Hoplosternum. These catfish fearlessly swim to the piranhas and eat parasites from their skin.
The food of piranhas is primarily fish, as well as birds that are in the water. Cases of killings are not recorded.
Piranhas swim in huge flocks of constant, and sometimes alone.
Common piranha is common in the aquarium. In an aquarium, it is quite shy and careful. Under natural conditions, fish find enough shelter, which may be lacking when kept in aquarium conditions. Piranha prefers soft water, a slightly acidic or neutral reaction (5.5-7.0) with fairly active filtration (about three volumes of the aquarium per hour). The presence of driftwood, mangrove root, maintains a constant pH level.
Origin of view and description
If we talk about ordinary piranha, then this predator belongs to the class of ray-finned fish and the haracyniform order. At the expense of the family to which this fish belongs, there are two classifications. One classifies her as a haracin family, and the other as a piranha family. Various assumptions exist regarding the name of the fish.
According to one hypothesis, the word came from the Portuguese language and means "pirate", according to another - from the language of the Indian tribe Guarani, it is translated as "angry fish". People learned about piranha ordinary in the middle of the nineteenth century. In addition to this species, there are also other varieties, the total number of which is about thirty.
An interesting fact: Of all the types of piranhas, only four can pose a threat to humans or animals; more than half of piranhas prefer plant food.
Among the dangerous, just include ordinary and large piranha. Let us describe in more detail some species of this fish.
Common piranha is a danger to people. The length of her body can reach 60 cm, but usually there are specimens from 25 to 35 cm long. Young animals up to eight months of age are very saturated in color (blue tones with dark spots and red fins). Adult fish have a gray color with a silver tint, golden specks are visible on the sides.
During the mating season, the color of the anal fin turns red, and the fish acquires an almost black hue with a reddish belly. The teeth of a fish resemble the teeth of a saw with which it cuts whole pieces of flesh of its prey. The teeth on the lower jaw are larger. Females are larger than males.
Red (red-breasted pacu) has a permanent residence in Brazilian territory and belongs to herbivorous varieties. This fish is very large, its length can be about 90 cm. The color of the pacus is silver-gray, the chest and lower fins are reddish. The tail of the fish is outlined by a dark (almost black) edging. Young animals have dark spots on their sides. The rhomboid piranha has a body shape to match its name.
She chose river basins:
The fish is about 40 cm long, has a greenish-silver color, and a caudal fin borders a strip.
Slender piranha is the owner of an elongated body, about 30 cm long. The fish itself is silver, and its belly is slightly reddish, its tail with a dark edging. This species lives in rivers such as Orinoco and Amazon.
Dwarf piranha does not exceed 15 cm in length, but compensates for its small size with aggressiveness and predatory habits. There is a small hump on the outstretched head of the fish. The silvery body of piranha is decorated with black specks on the sides, and the tail with a black rim. The color of the anal fin is reddish.
Brown Paku prefers to live alone, unlike his brothers, he can be more than a meter long. The color of the fish is brown, grayish, black. These colors on the body of a piranha can be combined to complement one another. The shape of the teeth in brown pacu is similar to the human.
Appearance and features
Photo: Piranha Fish
It is clear that each species of piranha has its own distinctive features, but, nevertheless, these fish have many common features in appearance, regardless of species. The body of piranha is flattened on the sides and quite high. The largest fish of the piranha family is brown pacu, its body length reaches 108 cm, and its weight is up to 40 kg.
The smallest variety is silver metinnis, the length of its body is not more than 14 cm. Female piranhas are larger and look much more plump than male ones. But the colors in the color of the males are bright.
Predatory fish have a rather large head, the muzzle is blunt, and the jaws are very powerful and strong, the lower one protrudes forward. The teeth of the fish are sharp, close in a tight lock when closing the mouth or bite. There are about 66 on top and 77 on the bottom. Piranha’s lips are thickened, they cover the upper part of the teeth, so only their sharp ends are visible. Piranhas, whose menu consists of all kinds of plants, are endowed with molar-shaped rubbing teeth. In pennant piranha, the teeth are arranged in two rows on top.
The tail of the piranha is not very long, it has a strong fin, the notch on which is weakly expressed. The dorsal fin is long, with more than 16 rays. The anal fin of the fish is also long, and those located on the belly are short. You may notice that adipose fin stands out on the ridge of fish; this trait is characteristic of characiform fish.
The eyesight of piranhas is sharp and the scent also does not fail. Her eyes are quite large, equipped with pupils of a dark color. With their eyesight, a fish can catch how a fly or a bee flew over water. The scent of predatory fish is so sensitive that they can smell a drop of blood in a huge pool in just 30 seconds. The side line of piranhas clearly scans any movements nearby.
As already mentioned, the color of piranhas varies not only from species to species, but also with age. In some species, young animals are painted in different colors than mature fish.
Piranha can be:
Many fish are decorated with dark spots, stripes, shiny specks. Fins also have a variety of shades.
We figured out what the piranha looks like, now we’ll find out where it lives.
Where does piranha live?
Photo: Piranha in the water
Piranhas prefer a warm climate, so you will never meet them in freezing reservoirs. These fish spread widely throughout the South American continent.
They live in such rivers as:
These fish were chosen by Venezuela, Guyana, Bolivia, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay. Piranhas are freshwater, they occupy rivers, lakes, channels, backwaters. They bypass the sea water, as they cannot breed in salt water.
Recently, cases of the discovery of piranhas in the waters of our country and Europe began to occur. Of course, this was the place to be, but this does not mean that the piranha multiplied and began to dwell in those places where it had not been seen before. The reason for these exceptional findings is the negligence of those who started piranhas at home in the aquarium, and then decided to get rid of them by releasing them into the nearest body of water, not thinking that they would doom the fish to inevitable death.
Piranha usually settles in those places where there is a lot of fish for food, because she is voracious enough. Hunting often takes place in shallow water or where there is a lot of silt at the bottom. Important conditions for them are that the water is well warmed up, fresh, there is enough oxygen in it, and there is a lot of vegetation. Piranhas love waters with a moderate, not fast current. Sometimes they swim into the sea, but they do not stay there for a long time.
We found out where the piranha lives, now let's figure out what it eats.
Candira, the common Vandellia (Vandellia cirrhosa) is an acne parasitic fish that grows on average no more than 2.5-6 cm. This tiny translucent creature is also called a "vampire fish" because it feeds on blood in the gill cavities of other fish. The usual Vandellia inhabits the waters of South America, mainly the Amazon River, and attacks animals and people who bathe here.
Candira penetrates a person and lengthens the short spikes on the gills in order to gain a foothold inside the organs and absorb blood. This leads to inflammation, hemorrhage and even death of the victim. It is difficult to remove fish from the body even with surgery.
Tiger fish - the most dangerous fish in Africa, it is a predator with large sharp 5-centimeter teeth and dark vertical stripes on the body. They hunt large animals in packs, destroy prey in a couple of seconds. The two largest species of this fish are ordinary tiger fish, which reaches a mass of up to 15 kg and lives in the rivers of Africa: Lualaba and Zambezi, Goliath tiger fish, which reaches up to 2 meters in length, more than 50 kg in weight and lives in Lake Tanganyika and the river Congo
Goliath tiger fish - extremely fast in pursuit of prey, its speed is 100 km / h. She has good long-range vision and excellent hearing, which makes it easy to find prey from several kilometers.
What does piranha eat?
The voracity of piranhas is amazing, both of predatory and vegetarians. The predator consumes almost everything that lives in the water column: other fish, reptiles, animals, birds, floating on the surface or flying low over the water. Even crocodiles are afraid of piranhas, therefore they swim over their flock up with their vulnerable belly, substituting the armored back for the fish. Piranha is also eaten by plankton, aquatic insect larvae, amphibians, mollusks, and all kinds of invertebrates. Pennant piranha eats the scales of large fish, not bypassing its relatives.
Piranhas living in the wild do not pick anything from the bottom, aquarium fish eat pieces of meat that have fallen to the bottom. Piranha predators are characterized by cannibalism. Entangled in the networks of fellow tribesmen, they will eat without hesitation. In aquariums, such phenomena also often occur when one stronger individual eats its cousins.
Captive fish are fed with fry, shrimp, a variety of meat, squid, and ordinary earthworms, adding some vegetables to the menu (cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, spinach). Vegetarian piranhas eat all kinds of aquatic plants, fruits and seeds that have fallen from trees into the water.
An interesting fact: The piranha predator serves as a kind of water orderly, because it often chooses very weak and painful inhabitants of the waters as a victim.
Now you know what piranha eats. There is very little left, soon you will become a "guru" in the field of piranhas.
The largest predatory fish in the world
The Great White Shark is the largest predatory fish in the world.which lives in cool coastal ocean waters. Adult individuals grow to 4.5-6.4 m in length and weigh 700-1100 kg. They have massive jaws, gray bodies and a white underbelly (hence the name), powerful tails that help to reach speeds above 40 km / h. The white shark has an extremely accurate sense of smell and a special organ for detecting electromagnetic radiation from animals. They are able to detect even minimal amounts of blood from a distance of up to 5 km.
The white shark has more than 300 sharp teeth 8 cm long, which are aligned in several rows and are combined into a scissor bite.
More than 1200 species of poisonous fish live in the underwater world, which are found mainly in tropical marine ...
These ferocious carnivorous fish eat sea lions, seals, whales, sea turtles. Unprovoked and often fatal attacks of a white shark on people are known, which is the reason for its other names - "cannibal shark", "white death". Of the more than 100 shark attacks that occur annually, one third to half are large white shark attacks. A white shark inflicts one bite to its prey, and then backs away.
Electric eel is a long predatory fish with a flattened head that lives in the Amazon, Orinoco, and other freshwater rivers in South America. It grows up to 3 meters in length, weighs up to 22 kg, has a gray-brown color and yellow on the underside. Electric eel lives in muddy, stagnant water, coming to the surface every few minutes to breathe through the mouth.
This fish is very dangerous in that it produces an electric current (hence the name of the fish) with a voltage of up to 600 volts to protect against predators or stun food. This charge of electric current is sufficient to kill a person or other living creature (horse, crocodile, etc.).
It hunts invertebrates, fish and small mammals. Electric shock in people causes temporary paralysis, respiratory or heart attack, which can lead to drowning.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Piranha under water
Piranhas usually gather in packs of about 30 individuals. Although in some species the school may number about a thousand fish. Predators go hunting at dusk, at night and in the wee hours. Many legends, scary stories associated with piranhas and their bloodthirstiness. It is a mistake to believe that movement in whole swarms is connected with their desire to kill, they exist collectively, on the contrary, to defend themselves from other ill-wishers.
The aggressive and conflicting nature of piranhas can be seen by the way they behave among their own, often engaging in internecine wars, fights and mutilating one another. Piranhas spend most of their lives searching for food, because their appetite is enormous.
Piranha hunting is not a pleasant sight, they occupy a prey body with a large flock, tearing pieces of flesh with their sharp teeth, these fish can be swallowed up to the bones in just one minute. Fish very sensitively feel any water splashes, and the smell of blood attracts them, like a powerful magnet.
Interesting fact: There has never been a single case when a piranha completely ate a person, as shown in horror films.
Piranha can bite a person, causing incredible pain, such cases are not uncommon and occur annually. The bite of this fish is very inflamed and heals for a long time, and sometimes people have to amputate limbs because of it. The jaws of piranhas are so powerful that they have no equal among any other animals.
In general, the temperament of these fish is very aggressive, the character is not the best, and piranha does not occupy stamina. In Brazil, they even tried to poison them, but only destroyed another living creature in the pond, and the piranhas remained unharmed. Of course, these are aggressive predators, but many legends and stories exaggerate the level of danger emanating from these fish.
The most dangerous fish in the world
Piranha is the most dangerous fish in South America and the whole world due to strong sharp triangular teeth, powerful jaws and group hunting. Piranha is found in the Amazon, also found in Orinoco and other South American freshwater rivers. There are more than 60 types of piranha., most of which grow up to 50 cm in length, weigh on average up to 1 kg and vary in color from silver with an orange underbelly to black.
Piranhas attack crustaceans and other fish, dangerous to humans. These predators go hunting in schools of about 100 fish in order to catch large prey. A flock of piranhas destroys an animal weighing 50 kg in a couple of minutes. These ferocious aggressive predators are also capable of killing deadly fish and even whales. The strength of a piranha bite is 25-30 times greater than its body weight. Piranha bites cause severe bleeding and pain.
The list of the most dangerous fish on the planet includes fish that differ in appearance, size and habitat: the parasitic small fish “candira” and the fiercest predators “tiger fish”, “big white shark”, “electric eel”, “piranha”, which the most dangerous fish in South America and the whole world.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: A pack of piranhas
As it turned out, basically, piranhas live in packs, sometimes very numerous. But the largest representative of their family (brown pacu) prefers complete loneliness. Sexually mature fish become closer to one and a half years. These fish are characterized by long pair love games before spawning. The color of the excited individuals changes, becoming much brighter, the aggressiveness of the fish during the mating season only increases.
Each fish couple in love has its own isolated area, which they protect from other people's attacks. In the early morning, when the first rays of the sun appear, the female begins to spawn, turning her head down. At a time, a female individual can produce from 500 to 15,000 eggs, the amount depends on the variety of fish. Caviar settles on aquatic plants, roots of coastal trees, soil, immediately fertilized. Males diligently guard the masonry. The favorable temperature for the appearance of fry in the world is about 28 degrees with a plus sign.
The size of the eggs can reach up to 4 mm; their color can be amber or greenish-yellow. The incubation period can last from two days to two weeks, it depends on the variety and warmth of the water, the result of the whole action is the emergence of larvae. For several days, the larvae feed on the contents of the yolk sac remaining after birth, then they begin to swim on their own.
Even the piranha fry are very voracious, insatiable and grow quickly. Caring parents continue their care until the fry begin to eat on their own. The life expectancy of piranhas living in the wild is about twenty years, in captivity it is even a little shorter.
Interesting fact: Among the piranhas, a long-livers - a red Paku, who lived in captivity for 28 years, are recorded.
Natural enemies of piranhas
Photo: Prey Piranha
Do not be surprised that bloodthirsty fish such as piranhas have many enemies who are not afraid to attack them. They like to enjoy river dolphins, so piranhas are stacked in packs to protect themselves at the right time. Arapaim fish and caiman are also not averse to tasting piranha. Arapaima reaches gigantic proportions, its scales are as strong as armor, therefore it is not afraid of piranhas and is ready to have a bite to eat with them, presenting a tangible threat to these fish. Caimans also love piranhas as a dish. Scientists-zoologists have even noticed that with a decrease in the number of caimans, the number of piranhas increases and vice versa.
We must not forget that cannibalism is flourishing among piranhas, so they can easily kill each other themselves. Only herbivorous piranhas are peaceful creatures, therefore, they can fall for lunch to any larger predator, including their relative. An oversized water turtle can also attack piranha.
Surprisingly, the malicious and aggressive piranha itself can experience severe fright, which often happens to her. At this moment she is numb, her consciousness as if is being turned off, she falls sideways to the bottom, being in shock. In this case, the color of the fish becomes paler. After the fish comes to its senses, it again zealously goes on the attack to protect its life.
Man, too, can be considered a piranha enemy. Except for the case of poisoning these fish with poison, people catch them. The Indians consume piranhas as food, and the natives make their sharp teeth something like knives and scissors.
Population and species status
Photo: Piranha fish
To date, the number of piranhas is not threatened, this fish has a fairly wide habitat. There is no evidence that the population of piranhas has decreased. This fish feels at ease in freshwater reservoirs, where it successfully reproduces. Apparently, this is because the piranha is very hardy and unpretentious in food. In addition, fish gather in large schools to protect themselves from larger predators.
Of course, people use this fish for food, but this does not affect the reduction in population. In Brazil, there were cases when the fish divorced too much and they tried to poison it, but nothing came of it, the poison didn’t work on the piranha, it has such amazing vitality. Only caimans can slightly affect the number of fish that they eat successfully.
Therefore, in those places where many of these small crocodiles have divorced, the number of piranhas is slightly reduced. And piranhas become much more there if caimans move to another place of residence. So, the threat of extinction to the piranha family is not threatened, and there are more and more lovers of these exotic fish, so piranhas are increasingly replenishing home aquariums where they feel great.
In the end, it remains to add that it’s not so scary piranhalike a rumor about her. This fish brings considerable benefits to water bodies, cleansing them of weakened and sick living creatures. Even piranha-vegetarians are very useful, because they also clear the overgrown rivers, eating their vegetation. The huge danger to people coming from them is far-fetched and not supported by any facts, which means it is almost unrealistic.
Piranha fish: predator or not
The piranha family includes several species of carnivores, as well as a large number of herbivorous species. The most common is ordinary or, as it is also called, red piranha. It is common in fresh waters of South America, almost everywhere found in the Amazon, Orinoco and La Plata basins. It can also be found in the eastern foothills of the Andes and Colombia, throughout the Amazon, in Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and northeast Argentina. Minor populations of piranhas are also found in the USA and Mexico, in Europe, in Spain and other countries where they came from amateur aquariums.
The activity is characterized by young people, who often gather in flocks. They constantly scour for food. Adult individuals are distinguished by solid behavior: most of the time they stand in their favorite place, sometimes hide behind snags or in algae, i.e. they prefer not to chase prey, but wait for it from shelter.
Despite the fact that it is a predator and has a reputation of "underwater wolves", these fish are very shy and easily fall into shock when frightened. With a sharp movement, the fish turns pale and falls sideways to the bottom, after a while the fish wakes up, starts swimming as usual, and then beware, the piranha will defend itself and attack.
How piranha fish hunt
In huge flocks, they attack any prey, tearing pieces of meat from the body of the victim, they are able to clean a large animal to the skeleton in a minute. These fish are attracted by bursts of water and the smell of blood. Feeding predators are an unpleasant sight. Water literally boils from fish scurrying back and forth. And the prey, surrounded by these predators, literally disappears before our eyes.
Piranhas also manifest themselves as cannibals: they can eat another piranha caught on a hook. Young piranhas can grab a piece of fin from their neighbor during feeding. That is why it is very difficult to meet uncrippled fish - almost all of them are in wounds and scars.
Not a single case is known when a piranha would eat a person. However, each year approximately 80 people suffer from this predator. The wounds that remain after her teeth are very serious and never completely heal. The best thing is if after meeting with the piranhas only a scar remains. There are many cases when, due to these cute fish, a person lost some of his body parts - a finger, or even his whole arm or leg.