Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Dangerous, import prohibited in some countries. Largest of the piranhas.
  • Fink, W.L. 1993 Revision of the piranha genus Pygocentrus. Copeia 1993(3):665-687. (Ref. 27142)
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Distribution

South America: Sao Francisco River basin in Brazil.
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São Francisco River basin, Brazil.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 139 mm SL
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Max. size

34.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 39031)); max. published weight: 3,175 g (Ref. 40637)
  • IGFA 2001 Database of IGFA angling records until 2001. IGFA, Fort Lauderdale, USA. (Ref. 40637)
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

pelagic; freshwater
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pygocentrus piraya

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 16
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott 1991 World fishes important to North Americans. Exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. (21):243 p. (Ref. 4537)
  • Crawford, R. 1993 World record game fishes 1993. The International Game Fish Association, Pompano Beach, Florida. (Ref. 6323)
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Wikipedia

Pygocentrus piraya

The fish Pygocentrus piraya often called the Piraya Piranha or San Francisco Piranha, and sometimes sold as the, Man Eating Piranha is a large, aggressive piranha from the São Francisco River basin in Brazil. It is one of the largest piranhas, reaching a maximum length of 50 cm in the wild, and is sometimes considered the most beautiful, with its orange to yellow belly coloration, silver eyes, and rayed fibrous adipose fin. Like most other piranhas, P. piraya is laterally compressed and roughly circular in profile, and bears a mouthful of very sharp teeth. The lower jaw is thick, strong, and protruding.

It is known by many vernacular names, such as Rio São Francisco Piranha, Black-tailed Piranha, King Emperor Piranha, and locally it is simply termed piraya.

This fish is an omnivore, but when hungry, stressed, or seeking live food it is very aggressive. This characteristic combined with its large size make it a danger to humans. Piranha attacks on humans are anecdotal for the most part. The piraya prefers to eat small fish and insects, along with seeds and aquatic plant material.

The piraya is sometimes available as an aquarium fish. It is not generally bred in captivity, so aquarium pirayas are usually imported from South America and can be expensive. Any other fish sharing a tank with a piraya should be of the same or a similar piranha species. Other types of fish will be attacked and eaten.

References[edit]

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