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BIG BELLY SPINE PIRANHA

Serrasalmus altispinis

MERCKX, JÉGU,  and DOS SANTOS, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM FRANK MAGALLANES

The map shown herein are approximate range of certain species. It does not show the complete range. There is no information to really tell hobbyists about this species other than its close appearance to S. rhombeus. They are so close in appearance that it requires a trained eye to separate them in the field. Aside from the citation from Michel Jégu, the only live photographs known to me is the one above by Adrien Leroy and Jerry Plakyda (see below) which resembles this species. Their behavior is similar to S. rhombeus so we can make some assumptions about the species on how it would behave. There is no record of its life in the water where it is collected on whether or not it is solitary. Again, we can make an evaluation based on its genus that it likely is solitary and does not group. 

 

FIG. 1

FIG. 2

FIG. 3

FIG. 4

FIG. 5

 

Rarely found in the aquarium trade, could be easily confused for S. rhombeus or other related compressus-type piranha. Recommend keeping as solitary species in the aquarium. We are fortunate to be able to show S. altispinis as a 5 inch TL specimen and a large adult (Adrien Leroy image). The caudal fin implies that subadults have a dark "V" and nearly hyline edge of the caudal fin similar to S. marginatus. However, with maturity the thin band on the tail edge begins to fill in more and becomes more prominent with age.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Michel Jégu

RÉSUMÉ. - Serrasalmus rhombeus (Linnaeus, 1766), décrite du Surinam, est signalée de l'Amazone, de l'Orénoque et des bassins côtiers des Guyanes. Connue en Guyane française du Maroni à l'Iracoubo, S. rhombeus est ici citee du bassin de l'Araguari en Amapa (Bresil). Dans l'Uatuma (Amazonas, Bresil), S. rhombeus est sympatrique de Serrasalmus altispinis, une espéce nouvelle. Le corps de S. altispinis est légerèment plus comprimé latéralement et un peu plus élevé que chez S. rhombeus. S. altispinis se caractérise surtout par la présence de 4 supraneuraux (vs. 5 chez S. rhombeus) et des serrae hautes. Ces caracterès sont observés chez S. altuvei, S. compressus et S. geryi, trois espèces de piranhas au corps haut et très comprimé, mais différentes de S. altispinis.

 

ABSTRACT. - A new species of Serrasalmus (Teleostei: Characidae: Serrasalminae), S. altispinis, is described from Uatumã basin (Amazonas, Brazil), with a complementary description of S.rhombeus (Linnaeus, 1766) from the Guiana shield.

 

Serrasalmus rhombeus (Linnaeus, 1766), described from Surinam, is recorded from the Amazon, the Orinoco and the Guiana coastal basins. Cited from the Maroni to the Iracoubo basins in French Guiana, S. rhombeus is recorded from the Araguari basin (Amapá, Brazil). In the Uatumã basin (Amazonas, Brazil), S. rhombeus is sympatric with a new species, Serrasalmus altispinis. The body of S. altispinis is lightly more compressed and deeper than in S. rhombeus. S. altispinis is mainly characterized by the presence of 4 supraneurals (vs. 5 in S. rhombeus ) and deeper serrae. These characteristics are shared with S. altuvei, S. compressus, and S. geryi, three species of piranhas with a deep and compressed body, but different than S. altispinis.

 

FIG. 6

FIG. 7

FIG. 8

FIG. 9

 

Coloration

In vivo, le corps des poissons est argenté et la tête des adultes présente une teinte orange sur toute la parie inférieure. Les flancs sont clairs et couverts de nombreuses petites taches sombres, rondes à ovales, dont la taille est toujours, inférienure au diamétre de l'oeil. Ces taches disparaissent progressivement chez les grands spécimens á partir de 150 mm alors que les flancs s'assombrissent. Juste en arrière de l'opercule, une large tache humérale dont la hauteur atteint près des 2/3 de celle de la tête, devient de plus en plus visible à partir de 100 mm LS. Les nageoires sont hyalines, à l' exception de la nageoire caudale qui porte, à son extrémité, une bande terminale noire trè contrastée et dont la base est foncée. Sur le matériel préservé dans l'alcool, la coloration argentée du corps s'estompe pour laisser place à une teinte brun-clair, mais la teinte rougeâtre sous la tête persiste parfois chez les spécimens les plus récents.

 

Coloration - English

Live colors, the body of the fishes is silver-plated and the head of the adults presents an orange complexion on checks. The clear flanks are covered with many small dark, round spots to oval, the size of the diameter of the eye. These spots disappear progressively with the big specimens at about 150 mm while the flanks darken themselves. Just behind of the opercle, a wide humeral spot of which the height attains close to the 2/3 of the head, becomes more and more visible from 100 mm SL. The fins are hyalines, with exception of the tail fin that has a black final band contrasted by darker one at the base. On preserved specimens in alcohol, silver-plated coloring of the body becomes obscured which becomes a clear brown complexion, but the reddish complexion under the head persists with more recent specimens.

 

Répartition géographique

Dans le bassin de l'Uatumã, Serrasalmus altispinis a été signalé et capturé tout le long du cours pendant les collectes réalisées entre 1982 et 1994, à l'excption toutefois des petits ruisseaux, des rapides de Teceira Queda dans le très bas dans le cours du fleuve.

 

Geographic distribution - English

In water of the uatumã, Serrasalmus altispinis was described and captured all alongside the course. During the collection it was abundant between 1982 and 1994, with the exception nevertheless of the small streams, Teceira Queda in the very bottom in the course of the river. Temperature of the water above of 30ºC and pH for return of 5.5 is inside of the local standards.

 

Discussion

Serrasalmus altispinis resemble à S. rhombeus tant par la forme générale du corps que par le type de coloration, en particulier la bande caudale noire terminale (Fig. 4A, B). Toutefois S. altispinis se différencie par un nombre plus faible de supraneuraux, 4 vs. 5 chez S. rhombeus (Fig. 5A, B). De plus, les serrae sont hautes (Figs 6B, 7) chez S. altispinis (4,4-5,8% LS vs. 2,4-3-8 chez S. rhombeus). D'autres critères, moins nets toutefois, permettent aussi de différecier les deux espéces. L'espace interorbitaire est plus étroit chez S. altispinis (8,8-10,1% LS vs. 10,3-13,4 chez S. rhombeus) (Fig. 6D, 8A, B). La lacune d'ossification à la joue est du même order de largeur chez les deux espèces, mais la distance séparant l'orbite de l'angle du préopercule est plus petite chez S. altispinis (7,6-10.3% LS vs. 11,5 à 14,5 chez S. rhombeus). Le nombre d'écailles perforées en ligne latérale est lus faible chez S. altispinis (78 á 85, 72 á 77 jusqu' à l'os hypural, vs 90 á 101, 81 à 89 jusqu'à l'hypural, chez S. rhombeus). De plus, S. altispinis semble perdre plus rapidement les dents ectoptérygoïdiennes que S. rhombeus (Fig. 6A). La coloration est plus sombre au niveau de la caudale et la tache humérale est large et très marquée chez S. altispinis (Fig. 4A, B). Bien que présent sur tout le cours d'eau du fleuve, aussi bien dans les zones alors que S. rhombeus est signalé de l'ensemble du bassin amazonien (Jégu et al., 1993). La présence simultranée des deux espèces dans les stations de collectes le long du cours de l'Uatumã (Fig. 1) nous permet d'affirmer que S. altispinis est sympatrique de S. rhombeus dans ce bassin.

 

Discussion - English

Serrasalmus altispinis resembles S. rhombeus by the general form of the body and by the coloring type, in particular the tail black final band (Fig. 4A, B). Nevertheless, S. altispinis is different by a smaller number of supraneurals, 4 vs. 5 with S. rhombeus (Fig. 5A, B). Even more, the serrae are high (Figs 6B, 7) with S. altispinis (4,4-5,8% SL vs. 2,4-3-8 with S. rhombeus). Of other criteria, that allow also to differentiate the two especes; the space interorbital is narrower with S. altispinis (8,8-10,1% SL vs. 10,3-13,4 with S. rhombeus) (Fig. 6D, 8A, B). The ossification gap to the cheek is same width order with the two types, but the distance separating the orbit of the angle of the preopercle is smaller with S. altispinis (7,6-10.3% SL vs. 11,5 to 14,5 with S. rhombeus). The number of perforated scales in lateral line is seen smaller with S. altispinis (78 to 85, 72 to 77 just to the hypural bone plate, vs 90 to 101, 81 to 89 before the hypural, with S. rhombeus). Of more, S. altispinis seems to lose more quickly the teeth ectopterygoid  than S. rhombeus (Fig. 6A). Coloring is darker at the base of the tail and the humeral spot is wide and very marked with S. altispinis (Fig. 4A, B). It is very present on the whole course of water of the river, just as well in the zones while S. rhombeus is described in the  body of the pool Amazonian (Jégu et al., 1993). The presence simultaneously of the two types in the stations of collect alongside the course of the uatumã (Fig. 1) allows us to assert that S. altispinis is sympatric (sharing, at least in part, the same geographical range) of S. rhombeus in this pool. It is likely to be confused with closely related species, S. rhombeus.

 

BREEDING S. altispinis

Hobbyists are reminded the information below is based on scientific literature pertaining to water conditions of the river the species is found in. Ultimately, it is up to your skills to fill in additional requirements to get this species to breed. My opinion for giving suggested parameters in the type of tank to house this species and what conditions might work is based on a large part on the success of S. rhombeus. A most similar type species that has been bred in captivity, though it appears only in larger public aquariums and not the home aquarium. As of the date of this writing S. altispinis has not been bred in captivity. I hope the below information will allow hobbyists wishing to try to breed this species some success. For breeding this species a very large aquarium would be required of at least 200 gallons or more. Heavy filtration and medium course gravel should fill the substrate with plants along the back and sides of the aquarium. Wet/dry system if the filtration of choice with a power-head installed for medium to strong current. Some vegetation might be helpful though the fish requires sufficient swimming space. Temperature of the native water is above 30ºC and the pH 6.3 with a conductivity of 70uS. It is a white water species. The banks of the  uatumã is a white sandy beach area during the dry season.

 

Étymologie

L'épithéte altispinis, du latin altus (haut) et spina (épine) , fait référence à la hauteur des serrae observées chez cette espèce.

 

Etymology - English

The epithet altispinis, Latin; altus (high) and spina (thorn), is reference to the height  of the serrae observed with this type.

 

MAXIMUM SIZE:

19.0 cm SL (approximately 10 inch TL)

 

DISTRIBUTION: 

Amazon river basin, Uatumã river

 

REFERENCES

(1) Antenne IRD, Laboratoire d'Ichthologie, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, FRANCE. [mailto:jegu@mnhn.fr]

(2) Laboratorio de Ictiologia, C.P.B.A., INPA, CP 478, Alameda Cosme Ferreira, 1756 - Alexio, CEP 69.011-970 Manaus, Amazonas, BRÉSIL.[ mailto:gsantos@inpa.gov.br] *: Auteur pour la correspondance.

Cybium 2000, 24(2): 181-201.

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UPDATED: 12/25/2011