Language English Tropical Rainforest Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing featuresA metallic blue band traverses the slightly flattened body of this tetra from the tip of the muzzle to the adipose fin. Under this band is another bright red one extending to the base of the caudal fin. The colours are divided by the lateral line. ReproductionThese fish lay eggs and are very prolific in the wild. DietThe species is omnivorous. PredatorsTheir enemies are birds and other fish. Humans also damage the species by discharging toxic waste into waterways (mining and forestry industries) and by catching them for sale to aquarists. HabitatCardinal tetras live under forest the canopy in shallow, slow-flowing streams. Decomposing plant material makes these streams almost black. The species is found in Brazil, in the basins of the Rio Negro and Rio Vaupes, in Venezuela, in western Colombia and in the Rio Manacacias. Ecology, behaviourCardinal tetras live in schools of several thousand individuals. They gather in shaded water, among roots and tangled submerged branches. These fish often frequent the mid zone and bottom of watercourses. Their fluorescent blue colouring is probably one of the means used by individuals to recognize each other. It also helps the group to avoid attacks by predators when they scatter quickly, creating startling blue flashes. French nameTétra cardinal, Néon rouge, Néon cardinalis Scientific nameParacheirodon axelrodiPhylumChordataClassOsteichthyes (bony fish)OrderCharaciformesFamilyCharacidaeSizeLength: 4 to 5 cmStatusCommon species, commercially exploited for sale to aquarists.