Found primarily in the Orinoco River Basin, these infamous “man eaters” form large schools and can inflict serious bites. However, black spot piranha feed primarily on fish, birds, benthic crustaceans, insects, aquatic vegetation and seeds from land-based plants.
  • Size

    11 inches
  • Diet

    Fish, birds, benthic crustaceans, insects, aquatic vegetation, terrestrial plant seeds
  • Range

    South America
  • Habitat

    Orinoco River basin lowlands and tributaries

Physical Characteristics

  • Upper body of the black spot piranha is silvery grey, while the lower body is red to red-orange, but varies among individuals. There is a black spot behind the operculum.
  • Pectoral and anal fins are orange to red and the dorsal fin is black.
  • Juvenile has black spots on the upper body.
  • This piranha can reach 11 inches (28 cm) in length and about 1.2 lbs. (0.6 kg), with a maximum weight of 5 lbs. (2.3 kg).

Animal Fact

Piranhas cannot survive in water colder than about 73o F (23o C), so there is little danger of a successful introduction in most parts of the U.S

Diet / Feeding

  • Feeds on fish, birds, benthic crustaceans, insects, aquatic vegetation and terrestrial plant seeds.

Range / Habitat

  • A South American fresh water fish found primarily in the Orinoco River basin lowlands and tributaries.

Additional Information

  • Black spot piranha is caught locally for food. Its flesh is considered flavorful.
  • As with other piranhas, this species has very sharp teeth that can inflict serious bites. It also forms large schools.
  • Piranhas cannot survive in water colder than about 73o F (23o C). So there is little danger of its successful introduction in most parts of the U.S. However, its sale has been banned in California, Florida, Texas and Hawaii and some other states because of fear that the piranha could be released into local waters and proliferate.

Sources

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