Language English Photo: Biodôme Photo: Biodôme de Montréal (Claude Lafond) Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing featuresThis piranha has a round, stocky, flat body, with a very high rounded back. Its head is large, with a blunt forehead. It is bluish with silver flashes and orange underparts. It has very sharp teeth. ReproductionThese fish reproduce in flooded forests during the rainy season, when food is abundant. The pair finds an isolated spot and marks its territory. The male digs a nest in gravel or plant debris. After spawning, he chases the female away and guards the nest until the eggs hatch. DietTheir diet depends on what food is available and is mainly made up of other fish, insects, molluscs, crustaceans and, in large part, plants. These piranhas hunt in schools and may attack small mammals. They are capable of tearing up to 16 cm³ of flesh from a victim. PredatorsTheir enemies are other piranhas. Humans also damage the species by discharging toxic waste into waterways (mining and forestry industries) and by catching them for food and for sale to aquarists. HabitatRed-bellied piranhas live in freshwater rivers in South America. During the rainy season, they are found in the flooded zone of the forest, or varzea. Ecology, behaviourThese are shy, fearful fish. The species is dangerous to humans only in exceptional circumstances, as for example when large numbers of starving fish are isolated in small basins or backwaters where there is little food. These carnivorous fish play a very useful role in South American rivers. They attack animals that are often wounded or ill and dispose of their carcasses, which would otherwise quickly pollute the habitat as they decomposed. These fish are active in daytime. French namePiranha à ventre rouge, piranha rouge Scientific namePygocentrus nattereriPhylumChordataClassOsteichthyes (bony fish)OrderCharaciformesFamilySerrasalmidaeSizeLength: 20 to 33 cmStatusCommon species, commercially exploited for sale to aquarists and for human consumption.