Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Characiformes
(Characins) > Serrasalmidae
Etymology: Pygocentrus: Greek, pyge = rump + Greek, kentron = sting (Ref. 45335). More on author: Kner.
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; pelagic; pH range: 5.5 - 7.5; dH range: ? - 20. Subtropical; 23°C - 27°C (Ref. 13371); 9°N - 34°S
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - 15 cm
Max length : 50.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 81048); max. published weight: 3.9 kg (Ref. 40637)
South America: Amazon River basin, Paraguay-Paraná River basin, northeastern Brazilian coastal rivers and Essequibo River basin (Ref. 39031). Reported from the Uruguay River, Brazil (Ref. 79585).
Common in creeks and interconnected ponds in Matto Grosso, Brazil, where it influences distribution and feeding of other fish (Ref. 9080) and in areas of high primary production in Rio Machado and Rio Negro (Ref.9096). Adults feed mainly at dusk and dawn. Feeds on insects, worms and fish (Ref. 7020). Medium-sized to large individuals (15-24 cm length) forage mainly at dawn, late afternoon and night up to about 2200H, whereas smaller fish (8-11 cm) are active mainly during the day (Ref. 9080). Teeth replacement on alternating sides of jaw allows continuous feeding. Its powerful dentition can inflict serious bites. Has a highly evolved auditory capacity and a 'lurking', then 'dashing' behavior during daytime. Shows hierarchies within small schools (Ref. 9077). Available information on body composition of 'piranha caju' flesh is 8.2% fat, 15.0% protein and 4.4% ash (Ref. 9251).
Fink, W.L., 1993. Revision of the piranha genus Pygocentrus. Copeia 1993(3):665-687.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 4537)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5625 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02144 (-0.15054 - 0.19342), b=3.12 (3.02 - 3.22), based on LWR estimates for species & family-BS (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.7 ±0.61 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.89; tm=1; Fec=4,000-5,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (27 of 100) .