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piranha, additionally called caribe or piraya, any kind of of more than 60 species of razor-toothed carnivorous fish of south American rivers and lakes, v a rather exaggerated call for ferocity. In movies such as Piranha (1978), the piranha has actually been depicted as a ravenous indiscriminate killer. Many species, however, room scavengers or feed on plant material.
Most species of piranha never thrive larger than 60 centimeter (2 feet) long. Colours vary from silvery through orange undersides to almost completely black. These common fishes have deep bodies, saw-edged bellies, and large, normally blunt top with solid jaws bearing sharp, triangular this that satisfy in a scissorlike bite.
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Piranhas variety from northern Argentina come Colombia, but they are most diverse in the Amazon River, wherein 20 different types are found. The most well known is the red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri), with the the strongest jaws and sharpest teeth of all. Especially throughout low water, this species, which can prosper up come 50 cm (about 20 inches) in length, hunts in teams that can number more than 100. Several teams can converge in a feeding frenzy if a big animal is attacked, return this is rare. Red-bellied piranhas choose prey that is only slightly larger than us or smaller. Generally, a team of red-bellied piranhas spreads out to look because that prey. Once located, the attack scout signals the others. This is probably done acoustically, together piranhas have excellent hearing. Everyone in the team rushes in to take it a bite and also then swims away to make method for the others.
A red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) from the Amazon River.
The lobetoothed piranha (P. Denticulata), i beg your pardon is found primarily in the basin of the Orinoco River and the tributaries the the lower Amazon, and the mountain Francisco piranha (P. Piraya), a varieties native to the mountain Francisco river in Brazil, are likewise dangerous to humans. Most species of piranhas, however, never kill huge animals, and also piranha strikes on people are rare. (See also Sidebar: Vegetarian Piranhas.) although piranhas are attracted come the odor of blood, most types scavenge more than they kill. Part 12 varieties called wimple piranhas (genus Catoprion) survive specifically on morsels nipped from the fins and scales of other fishes, which climate swim free to cure completely.
Ichthyologists frequently separate the carnivorous “true piranhas” from the vegetarian members of Serrasalminae. Typically, true piranhas are limited to three varieties of genus Pygocentrus: P. Piraya, P. Nattereri, and also P. Cariba. Historically, however, other classifications have expanded the group to incorporate four genera: Pristobrycon, Pygocentrus, Pygopristis, and Serrasalmus, based mainly on the solitary row of spicy triangular teeth all members display. Still various other classifications include additional genera, such together Catoprion, or exclude, Pristobrycon since that group is not thought about by all ichthyologists to it is in monophyletic—that is, descended from a single common ancestor.
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