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Red-Bellied Piranha

Pygocentrus nattereri


  • Amazon basin in South America


  • Tropical American rainforests


  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Crustaceans
  • Worms
  • Carrion
  • Seeds
  • Plants

Despite its reputation, the small fish is a timid scavenger and finds food by scent or motion.

Fulfilling the role of the vulture, schools of piranha keep the river clean by consuming dead or injured animals, insects, snails, scraps and even plants. Their razor-sharp teeth can strip flesh from a large animal in minutes, but they themselves are commonly eaten by local people who use the fishes’ jaws as scissors.

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