Did you know that there are at least twenty-five different kinds of piranhas? Most
have deep flat bodies, range in color from olive green to blue black, and have red orange
The most dangerous of the species have large very sharp teeth, the upper and
lower set which fit perfectly together. These remarkable fishes have other characteristics
which enhance their biting ability. Their lower jaws are sturdy and they swing shut at an
angle that gives maximum leverage. Their deep flat bodies which offer resistance when
swung sideways through the water add to the leverage. Incredibly large muscles are
attached to the jaws. The muscles are so sturdy that when you that when you look down a
large specimens throat it barely looks like enough room to swallow. When the fish clamps
down on a victim it grabs firmly and twists its body violently until a piece is torn loose.
a word, the piranha is the most efficient biting machine. Every body part seems to make a
contribution to this function.
Fishing for the piranha in the Guyanas upper Abary River can be very exciting but
very dangerous. The author of Unusual Aquarium Fishes, Alan Mark Fletcher, was
using special heavy shanked steel fish hooks and twice piranhas bit completely through the
strong fish hooks. A man with a pair of pliers would have a hard time snipping through the
heavy shanked hooks. This author has taken many daring risks such as having himself
photographed holding a live piranha in the exact spot where it had just been caught.
While in some places the piranha are extremely dangerous, in others its quite
harmless most of the time. In the upper Amazon River, Indian children swim and play in
the waters that teems with the fish. Yet in Guyanas...