Country: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Diet: Insects – insectivore, fish – piscivore, worms.
Food & feeding: Carnivore
Conservation status: Not Threatened
Description: These fish have the reputation of being one of the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. Their short jaws certainly are very powerful and lined with razor sharp teeth, well able to take a chunk of flesh out of much larger fish. As their name suggests they have a reddish tinge to the belly. They grow to a maximum of 33 cm and a weight of 3.5 kg.
Lifestyle: These fish form big shoals. They predominantly eat other fish but myth suggests they will attack any creature, whatever the size, if it is injured or struggling in the water.
Family & friends: Red-bellied piranhas are a schooling species.
Keeping in touch: These fish have a very good sense of hearing, using a special line of sensors down the sides of the their bodies, called the lateral line system. This enables them to find struggling prey in murky water.
Growing up: Eggs are squirted out into the water and fertilised by the males, then left to hatch, with no further care from the parents.