Category: Sea Life

The Piranha is a carnivorous, predatory fish that inhabits the waters of South America. This fish can be vicious. The piranha has strong jaws and sharp teeth, and is known for its strong appetite and strong hunting instincts.

Red-bellied Piranha (Pygocentrus natteri)

Red-bellied Piranha (Pygocentrus natteri)

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Actinopterygii

Order - Characiformes

Family - Serrasalmidae

Genus - Pygocentrus

Common Names - Piranha, Piranha Fish, Caribes, Palometa, Piraña


The piranha is a smaller fish, and measures between five and ten inches long when fully grown. This fish is not a friendly fish, and much folklore surrounds his vicious temperament. The piranha loves to hunt and eat freshly killed meat. His strong jaws and piercing teeth help him to be a fierce hunter. The piranha lives in South America, and inhabits freshwater, such as rivers like the Amazon. While the piranha subsists largely on fresh meat, this fish also eats some vegetation.


The female piranha lays her eggs in pits. The mother and father piranha keep watch over the eggs and swim around them until they hatch, to protect them from predators. Once hatched, baby piranhas are integrated with the school of adult fish and taught to hunt.


The piranha travels in schools of up to 20 fish. At feeding times, the water surrounding these schools can appear to churn red with the blood of captured prey. While there are about 20 species of piranha, only four to five of these species pose any danger to humans. Piranha attacks in South America are becoming more common, and humans should be aware of this before traveling in the area or going into the water.


The piranha has long been written about, and has a legendary reputation for his vicious temper and fierce hunting skills. Many people earn the nickname "piranha" for being assertive and getting things done quickly and efficiently.

Present status

The piranha is on no list of endangered or sensitive species. In fact, it is illegal to import these fish into many countries, including the Philippines and much of the United States. Violators can face jail time and hefty fines for disregarding these import and export laws.