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  • Roter Piranha im Zoo Zürich.

    Red piranha

    Pygocentrus nattereri

    Red piranhas hunt in groups of 20 to 30 animals. Protected by vegetation, they lie in wait for their prey, attacking it from below or from behind. In addition to the ambush tactic, piranhas also hunt in the open water and pursue their prey at speed for longer distances.

    Serious accidents with people are rare. Usually violent bite injuries occur with fishermen, in particular when they try to retrieve their fish hook from the piranha’s mouth when it is still alive.

    Closest relatives Tetra, Serrasalmidae (18 species)
    Habitat Rivers, lakes, lagoons
    Behaviour twilight activity, in shoals of up to 20 to 30 animals
    Diet Fish, carrion, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, plant parts
    Body length up to 30 cm
    Spawn up to 400 eggs in a shallow pit, several females spawn in the same pit, males guard clutches
    Breeding period Hatch after 36 hours, free swimming after 6 days Use: popular food fish in some regions
    Life expectancy 15 years, at the zoo more than 30 years
    Use popular food fish in some regions
    Current status very common, exposed in the southern states of the USA, Hawaii and India
    At Zurich Zoo since 1956, between 1970 and 1976 over 3,200 young animals

    geographic range

    Verbreitungskarte Roter Piranha

    Geier des Süsswassers

     

    Eine Pororoca-Welle im Amazonas.

    Am Unterlauf des Amazonas bilden sich regelmässig grosse Springfluten, die sich von der Mündung landeinwärts bewegen. Die bis zu 4 Meter hohe Welle wird in Brasilien «Pororoca» genannt und entsteht durch Ebbe und Flut im Meer. Durch das plötzliche, tsunamiartige Hochwasser ertrinken regelmässig viele Haus- und Wildtiere. Die Kadaver werden von den Piranhas gefressen, womit sie die Ausbreitung von Seuchen verhindern. Piranhas gelten daher als «Geier des Süsswassers».

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    IUCN RedList