Despite being a small fish, the piranha has stirred curiosity and fear among men since time immemorial. Known to potentially destroy water eco-systems, the Piranha is one of the most active species of freshwater fish; and by active, we mean, the food intake, movement and predatory acts. The name piranha has been derived from a hybrid language comprising of Tupi-Guarani languages. The word ‘pira’ means fish and ‘sanha’ or ‘ranha’ means ‘tooth’. A piranha is a freshwater South American fish that is silver in color, with red-pigmented patches. It has a robust, narrow body with a blunt head. The strong jaws have triangular-shaped, razor sharp teeth. It would interest you to know that Piranhas are also omnivores. It is believed that Piranhas are commonly found in the middle of a freshwater food chain. This means, that they like to feed on snails, aquatic animals, plants and insects and are also fed on. The single row of razor-sharp teeth helps the piranhas taste the blood of their prey. The fish is known as ‘caribes’ in the Venezuelan rivers. Studies have recognized a total of 38 or 39 valid species of piranhas. Read through the following lines to know more interesting facts and amazing information on piranhas.
Facts About Piranha
Species: Serrasalmus spp.
Group Name: School
Length: 20.3-30.5 cm
Weight: 3.5 kg
Lifespan: 25 years
Habitat: Rivers of South America.
Age of Sexual Maturity: 18-24 months
Gestation Period: 4-6 weeks
Number of Offspring: 5000 eggs
Interesting & Amazing Information On Piranhas
- Piranhas are known for their sharp, pointed teeth, with which they can bite through a steel fishing hook as well.
- The collective name for a group of piranhas is ‘school’.
- These fish are also known for having an aggressive appetite for meat and flesh.
- They are normally found in the freshwaters of South American rivers, which include Amazonian, Guianas, Paraguayan, Orinoco, Guyana, and Sao Francisco river systems. However, they are occasionally found to inhabit warm North American rivers and small lakes also.
- Fish, insects, snails, plants, seeds, carrion, fruits and aquatic invertebrates form the main prey of piranhas. They also eat mammals and birds that fall into the water.
- The popular myth about Piranhas is that, it can easily feed on cattle or human bodies in a matter of seconds. This is not the case.
- Piranhas have camouflaging abilities in order to catch their food.
- Piranhas feed together in a group, in a slight frenzy.
- They have a number of large predators, such as river dolphins (also known as botos), crocodiles, turtles, birds and larger fish.
- A piranha is said to be too much feared by most humans, sometimes even feared more than a shark.
- Piranhas breed in pairs during the rainy season i.e. in the months of April and May, in slow waters such as lagoons.
- Since both male and female piranhas protect their eggs effectively, 90% of their eggs survive and hatch after a few days.
- Movies have always exaggerated piranha’s behavior about the thirst for human flesh, but the fact is that these fishes feed in a frenzy.
- In order to survive, a piranha may also eat a member of its own family or species brutally.
- Piranhas have been discovered in Kaptai Lake in South-East Bangladesh.
- A piranhas jaw bones can easily crush a human hand in a matter of 5-10 seconds.
- Piranhas are commonly seen in Hollywood flicks and a few of them are ‘You Only Live Twice’ and ‘Piranha’.
- Piranhas and Sharks are the only two sea creatures with a heightened sense of smell and an additional sensory system to detect blood.