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The piranha – which means “toothed fish” in the language of a native Amazon tribe – has an exaggerated reputation as an aggressive killer.

Although a school of piranha can be ferocious and devour prey quickly, piranhas serve as the Amazon River’s “cleanup crew.” They typically eat sick, injured, or dead animals, and rarely go after healthy ones.

About 20 species of piranha inhabit the Amazon River basin. Long Island Aquarium’s Piranha exhibit is home to the red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) – the most widely distributed species in the Amazon and Orinoco region.

Amazing, but true
While piranhas have the reputation of aggressive man-eaters,
this exhibit is actually cleaned from the inside by an Long Island
Aquarium Aquarist. The piranhas are more afraid of him than he is of them!

Piranha Piranha