A Review on Those Published Books About Piranhas

by Frank Magallanes - December 4, 2002







One of the most common complaints by hobbyists is the type of pictures and materials that are being sold by book publishing companies that identify piranhas for the aquarium trade. These books have literally become bibles for the majority of fish hobbyist that collect piranhas. Unfortunately, most of these books are rife with invalid scientific names, drawings and sometimes photos are recycled under different species names. This is a true can of worms when you try to explain to hobbyists the errors and misinformation furnished by reading the material.


What I intend to do here is simple. It is not to judge the publisher or what he/she publishes. Rather, I will review each book as an educational tool on piranhas from my own collection and present the material by book title and page with current standings. Also I have added a newer addition. Click on the image to the left to access individual book review on some recently revised books. In the meantime, enjoy updating your older books older piranha book by making them new by having the correct names penciled in to those books. 


I am sure there are other piranha books available in the open market. If any one cares to donate their book if it is not listed here, I will be more than happy to review it and make corrections via this web site. However, I will not be able to return your book to you. So carefully consider donating the book to this worthy cause.


I will start with the oldest book and the one often cited in piranha literature. Hobbyist herein are reminded that current ichthyologist do not follow methods or classifications by Dr. Jacques Géry because of the method used in creating subspecies and a new family as Serrasalmidae. Géry recognized only 12 species of piranha in the entire continent of South America and he lumped many into this subcategory thereby causing future Systematicians problems for reclassifying and reviewing piranha placement.


The books below were carefully examined and studied.  The Piranha Book by G. S. Myers is a bit more complicated in identifying piranhas because in most cases, the locality was omitted to place the exact species name. This is a very common problem with many of these books, where the author or publisher did not take that issue into consideration on the captions.




George S. Meyers



Characoids of the World

Jacques Géry




John R. Quinn



Inside cover; P. nattereri

pg. 4; S. eigenmanni

pg. 8; S. rhombeus

pg. 9; top fish, P. nattereri

pg. 9; (bottom)  P. denticulata

pg. 16; (top & bottom) S. spilopleura

pg. 17; (bottom fish) S. manueli

pg. 20; S. spilopleura

pg. 65; P. cariba

pg. 68; S. rhombeus

pg. 76; S. spilopleura 

pg. 77 Unknown juvenile, not S. hollandi. Probably S. humeralis juvenile

pg. 84; resembles S. humeralis

pg. 84; (bottom) P. denticulata

pg. 86; S. rhombeus

pg. 87; P. denticulata

pg. 92; (top) resembles S. nalseni

pg. 93; P. cariba

pg. 108; S. rhombeus

pg. 109; S. eigenmanni

pg. 115; S. eigenmanni

pg. 116; juvenile S. eigenmanni

pg. 118; S. irritans

pg. 121; S. elongatus - adult

pg. 123; S. spilopleura - adult

pg. 279; Pristobrycon striolatus

pg. 280 (top) Pygopristis denticulata

pg. 281; (top) P. eigenmanni

(bottom) Pristobrycon striolatus

pg. 284; (top) Resembles S. nalseni

(bottom) S. spilopleura (possibly S. maculatus)

pg. 285; (bottom) S. manueli.

pg. 287 Drawing of S. spilopleura spawning.

pg. 288; Resembles S. humeralis juvenile.

pg. 293; (top) Pygocentrus cariba

pg. 5. S. eigenmanni

pg. 24; S. rhombeus

pg. 30; P. striolatus

pg. 41; S. rhombeus juvenile

pg. 46; C. mento is monotypic

pg. 61; P. denticulata

pg. 78; S. spilopleura

pg. 100-102; S. spilopleura

pg. 103; P. eigenmanni

pg.104; P. nattereri

pg.106-109; S. spilopleura

pg.113; (top) P. denticulata

pg. 114; (bottom) unknown


Wolfgang Schulte



PIRANHAS Keeping and Breeding Them In Captivity

Manolito Pinkguni




David Schleser



pg 9; S. spilopleura

pg. 10; S manueli

pg. 39; P. cariba

pg. 50; P. nattereri

pg. 52; (top) P.cariba

pg.54-55; P. nattereri

pg. 97; S. spilopleura

pg. 109; P. cariba

pg. 110; (top) P. cariba

pg. 111; (top) P. cariba (breeding adult)

pg. 119; (top) S. medinai-like probably S. spilopleura

pg. 120; S. irritans

pg. 128; S. spilopleura

pg. 3; S. manueli

pg. 4; (Top right) S. eigenmanni

pg. 6; (bottom right) Likely S. rhombeus

pg. 8; S. manueli

pg. 9; Mix of P. nattereri and Mylossoma sp.

pg. 12; P. denticulata

pg. 17; P. cariba

pg. 21; S. rhombeus juvenile

pg. 23; S. spilopleura

pg.27; S. spilopleura

pg. 28-29; P. denticulata & it is a piranha!

pg. 31; S. spilopleura

pg. 32-33; P. denticulata

pg. 49; C. mento is monotypic 

pg. 51; (L) 1&2 S. irritans, 3. P. cariba, 4. S. irritans, 5. P. cariba, 6. S. spilopleura, 7. P. striolatus

pg. 52; 3. S. spilopleura, 4. P. nattereri, 5. S. spilopleura, 6. P. eigenmanni, 7. P. denticulata, 8. P. striolatus

pg. 53; 2. S. rhombeus, 4. P. piraya juvenile 8. S. eigenmanni

pg. 55 8. S. marginatus juvenile

pg. 61; P. nattereri

pg. 62; S. rhombeus

pg. 64; P. striolatus

No species ID errors, but numerous grammatical errors in binomen spelling. Not all species are listed.






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Copyright© 1994-2012 Oregon Piranha Exotic Fish Exhibit (The OPEFE fish exhibit is permanently CLOSED as of 2000) Sutherlin, Oregon. Information posted on this web site is archival data on fish scientific classifications and other information. DISCLAIMER: The copyrighted material may not be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research. Cited information requires credit and this link All rights reserved. All images shown  (unless otherwise noted) is property of OPEFE. 


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