Back to top
Piranha © Wikimedia commons - Karelj

The red-bellied piranha

The red-bellied piranha, Pygocentrus nattereri, is a carnivorous freshwater fish which lives in the rivers of South America.

Profile

Class, order and family :
Actinopterygii, Characiformes, Characidae
Life span :
up to 10 years in captivity
Size & Weight :
28 - 33 cm and up to 3.5 kg
Incubation period :
2 - 3 days, several thousand eggs
Natural habitat :
rivers, lakes
Diet :
carnivore – fish, crustaceans, molluscs
Native region :
the Amazon basin

Lifestyle

This rather solitary fish mainly hunts other fish, especially those that are sick or wounded, which reduces the spread of germs.
In the dry season, red-bellied piranhas often find themselves trapped in residual ponds where prey is rare. Starving, they become aggressive and band together to attack larger animals such as capybaras.

Distinctive features

These are predators with sharp teeth.

Anecdote

This species is well and truly carnivorous. But in spite of its ferocious appetite, powerful jaws and sharp teeth, the red-bellied piranha never seems to have attacked humans, according to records.