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Serrasalmidae

TRUE PIRANHAS and CARIBE genus Pygocentrus

 

FROM FRANK MAGALLANES

 

Regarding Pygocentrus palometa:  See: Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America; Pygocentrus palometa Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1850:296. Type locality : Rio Apure, Rio Guarico, Lower Rio Orinoco, Venezuela. No types mentioned. Nomen dubium. Remarks and references: Doubtful species because too brief description, no specimen mentioned and no drawn representation (Jégu in Reis et al. 2003:189). However, according to  William Eschmeyer at CAS; Current status, valid as Pygocentrus palometa Valenciennes 1850. Serrasalmidae. I suspect P. palometa from the description is likely a pacu (Myleus or some other type).

 

CURRENT VALID SPECIES LIST - 2011

 

Pygocentrus piraya  

 

Current status: Valid as Pygocentrus piraya (Cuvier 1819). Serrasalmidae.

 

True Piranha: Cuvier [G.] 1819:368, Pl. 28 (fig. 4) [Mémoires du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (N. S.) (Série A) Zoologie v. 5; Brazil. Holotype (unique): MNHN A-8630. Non-types: MNHN A-8631 (1). Type catalog: Bertin 1948:25. •Valid as Pygocentrus piraya (Cuvier 1819) -- (Fink 1993:671, Britski 2001:21, Jégu in Reis et al. 2003:189).

 

Distribution: São Francisco River basin, Brazil.

Pygocentrus nattereri  

 

Current status: Valid as Pygocentrus nattereri Kner 1858. Serrasalmidae.

 

True Piranha: Kner [R.] 1858:166 [6] [Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe v. 32 (no. 22);  Cuiabá and Mato Grosso, Brazil. Syntypes: NMW 10585-86 (1, 1), ?16167 (1, dry). Also appeared in Kner 1860:36 [p. 28 in separate], Pl. 3 (fig. 8) as new. •Valid as Serrasalmus nattereri (Kner 1858) -- (Géry 1972:239, Ortega & Vari 1986:9, Gómez & Chebez 1996:51). •Valid as Pygocentrus nattereri Kner 1858 -- (Fink 1993:672 with type locality comments, Chang & Ortega 1995:5, Fink & Zelditch 1997:179, Britski et al. 1999:62, Fuller et al. 1999:189, Keith et al. 2000:14, Camargo & Isaac 2001:139, Jégu in Reis et al. 2003:189, López et al. 2003:32, Menni 2004:78).

Pygocentrus cariba

 

FROM FRANK MAGALLANES

The original species name of cariba has been delegated to a poorly described species  referred to as a Serrasalmus. See below: However, according to CAS, the species name of cariba has been returned to Pygocentrus.

 

Current status: Valid as Pygocentrus cariba (Humboldt 1821). Serrasalmidae. Effective March 1, 2012.

 

True Caribe: Humboldt [F. H. A. von] in Humboldt & Valenciennes 1821:216, [173], Pl. 47 (fig. 1) [Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland, Deuxième partie. v. 2 (Title page 1833); Apuré and Orinoco rivers, South America. No types known. Name available from plate and caption on p. 216. Description is on p. 173, as "Serrasalmo albus, dorso..."; if albus is regarded as an available name, Fink serves as first reviser selecting cariba (see Fink 1993:669). •Synonym of Pygocentrus notatus (Lütken 1875) -- (Fuller et al. 1999:189). •Valid as Pygocentrus cariba (Humboldt 1821) -- (Fink 1993:680, Machado-Allison et al. 2000:64, Machado-Allison 2002:58, Jégu in Reis et al. 2003:189 with authors as Humboldt & Valenciennes). •More likely a species of Serrasalmus -- (Nico 2001:139).

 

 

Scientific names were placed on a number of singular species by various historical authors and that is the primary reason piranha classification is so confusing to everyone concerned. What I have attempted to do here is combine those names with the actual species described. This is a monumental task, as there tends to be a conflict between scientists using old descriptions and species names vs. new collections and descriptions. The old collections and descriptions were based on a limited field and range. Often the collector did not write down the specific collection point. Also these old collections and descriptions did not take into account the growth pattern of young fish vs. older fish or those in breeding condition. For that reason, it is common to find several scientific names for the same species. The generic ranking was also a problem.

 

For more in depth information, the reader can access genus Pygocentrus  or Family Serrasalmidae for more information on this problem. Science, when it comes to piranhas and their associated forms has been a mess for a number of years, one can even say for over a century. I had to wade through the long list of historical species names and stabilize them here at OPEFE. It is as accurate, based on the scientific record, as possible. The reader can safely assume that I have given these web pages the best overall review of what we now know about the genera as a whole and specifically the species that are currently recognized.

 

NUMBER OF SPECIES

 

Piranhas probably comprise more than 60 species and only a few recent ones have been added to the list. There are probably more out there, but few *Holotype specimens are in existence from the original named descriptions. For example; S. altuvei (Ramirez, 1965), and the following species most recently discovered in 2001; S. hastatus, and S. compressus which were thought to be S. altuvei in earlier collections and descriptions. This mistake in identification allowed a new species to be discovered once the error was noted. Another example is S. gibbus, the original Holotype was lost during World War II and all that remains are 5 lines of descriptive material by Castelnau, 1855.

 

Please take your time in reading the information here. It is a large accumulation of material and I am far from done with it.

 

* HOLOTYPE: A single specimen designated as the name-bearing type of a species or subspecies when it was established, or the single specimen on which such a taxon was based when no type was specified.

 

SHOAL? OR GROUP?

 

Piranhas do not shoal in the literal sense. They form groups of approximately identical size fish. In the spirit of that knowledge, I have placed four (4) groups of individual piranha and pirambeba species, classified in a clade of four (4) scientific generic names, which includes the three (3) true piranhas and caribe in genus Pygocentrus, approximately twenty-four (24) or more species of pirambeba and caribito in genus Serrasalmus. Approximately five (5) or more species of caribito and palometa in genus Pristobrycon and one (1) species of pirambeba in Pygopristis with two (2) associated forms arranged in two (2) genera; Catoprion and Metynnis.

 

CLASSIFICATION- genus Pygocentrus; TRUE PIRANHAS and CARIBE

 

The common name piranha and caribe are names that were determined by G. S. Myers (see references below) to apply only to the true piranha of Brazil and surrounding areas and caribe which applies to the true caribe in Venezuela. Native South American’s are the folks responsible for determining what a common name is for their fish. You will occasionally read my use of piranha in describing all the species. Please be aware that the common name piranha is used here as a loose application only when addressing majority of these species.

 

These fish herein are accepted by their native common name of PIRANHA (Brazil and other localities) or CARIBE (Venezuela). This native common name has validity and placement by historical authors to differentiate from the loose application of the name from associated forms known as pirambeba (MYERS, 1972 et al and State of Oregon vs. Magallanes, Case No. 93-CR-0124VI 1993).

 

This species primary diet is whole fish, fins, seeds, and microorganisms (juveniles). These species of piranhas are considered potentially dangerous to humans because they swarm in schools to attack sick and dying animals. The piranha as a general public perception, has always been maligned as a man-eater that would attack without provocation. Indeed the focus of OPEFE is to educate the public on what the species actually is, more than what it is not. And that is a clearly misunderstood fish by the public-at-large.

 

 

P. cariba - REFERENCES

 

Humboldt, F. H. A. von  and A. Valenciennes  1821 Recherches sur les poissons fluviatiles de l'Amérique Équinoxiale. In: Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland, Deuxième partie. Observations de Zoologie et d'Anatomie comparée. Paris. Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland, Deuxième partie. v. 2 (Title page 1833): 145-216, Pls. 45-52. [For dates of publication see Sherborn 1899, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (Ser. 7) v. 3: 428; see also Lazara 1993 for authorships.]

 

Cuvier, G. and A. Valenciennes 1850 (Jan.) Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome vingt-deuxième. Suite du livre vingt-deuxième. Suite de la famille des Salmonoïdes. Table générale de l'Histoire Naturelle des Poissons (pp. 1-91). Hist. Nat. Poiss. v. 22: i-xx + 1 p. + 1-532 + 1-91, Pls. 634-650. [Valenciennes authored volume. Published as 1849. i-xvi + 1-395, index 1-81 (+ 1) in Strasbourg edition.]

org.

 

Myers, George S., 1972, The Piranha Book (M-539) TFH Publications, NJ.

 

Fink, W. L. 1993 (18 Aug.) Revision of the piranha genus Pygocentrus (Teleostei, Characiformes). Copeia 1993 (no. 3): 665-687.

 

Fuller, P. L. , L. G. Nico, and J. D. Williams 1999 Nonindigenous fishes introduced into inland waterways of the United States. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 27: i-x, 1-613, 7 figs.

 

Machado-Allison, A. , R. Royero, and C. Silvera  2000 Humboldt y su contribucion as conocimiento de los peces de agua dulce de Venezuela. Biblioteca de la Academia de Cieancias Fisicas, Mathematics y Naturales, Caracas. v. 60 (nos 3-4): 63-72.

 

Machado-Allison, A.  2002 Los peces caribes de Venezuela: una aproximación a su estudio taxonómico. Biblioteca de la Academia de Cieancias Fisicas, Mathematics y Naturales, Caracas. v. 62 (no. 1): 35-88.

 

Nico, L. G.   2001 Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859): contributions to knowledge of new world fishes. BioLlania Ed. Esp. no. 7: 127-165.

 

California Academy of Sciences On-Line: http://research.calacademy.org/

 

 

P. nattereri -  REFERENCES

 

.Kner, R.  1858 Zur Familie der Characinen. Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe v. 32 (no. 22): 163-168. [Abstract of Kner 1860.

 

Kner, R1860 Zur Familie der Characinen. III. Folge. Der Ichthyologischen Beiträge. Denkschriften der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Classe der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien v. 18: 9-62, Pls. 1-8. [Also as a separate, pp. 1-54, with dual pagination. Some taxa appeared first in Kner 1858.

 

Myers, George S., 1972, The Piranha Book (M-539) TFH Publications, NJ.

 

Chang, F.  and H. Ortega  1995 (12 Dec.) Additions and corrections to the list of freshwater fishes of Peru. Publicaciones del Museo de Historia Natural, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Serie A, Zoology Ser. A Zool. No. 50: 1-11

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Gómez, S. E.  and J. C. Chebez  1996 Peces de la provincia de Misiones. Chapter 4 in J. C. Chebez: Fauna Misionera. Catálogo sistemático y zoogeográfico de los vertebrados de la Provincia de Misiones (Argentina). L.O.L.A., Buenos Aires. Peces de la provincia de Misiones.: 38-70 + Addenda 315-316.

 

Fink, W. L.  and M. L. Zelditch  1997 (18 Feb.) Shape analysis and taxonomic status of Pygocentrus piranhas (Ostariophysi, Characiformes) from the Paraguay and Paraná River basins of South America. Copeia 1997 (no. 1): 179-182.

 

Britski, H. A. , K. Z. de Sz. de Silimon, and B. S. Lopes  1999 Peixes do Pantanal. Manual de identificaçao. Embrapa. Serviçao de Produçal -SPI, Brasía, DF. Peixes do Pantanal. Manual de identificaçao.: 1-184.

 

Camargo, M.  and V. Isaac  2001 Os peixes estuarinos da região norte do Brasil: lista de espécies e considerações sobre sua distribuição geográfica. Boletim do Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Nova Serie, Zoologia v. 17 (no. 2): 133-157.

 

Keith, P. , P.-Y. Le Bail, and P. Planquette  2000 Atlas des poissons d'eau douce de Guyane. Tome 2 - fascule I. Batrachoidiformes, Mugiliformes, Beloniformes, Cyprinodontiformes, Synbranchiformes, Perciformes, Pleuronectiformes, Tetraodontiformes. 1-286.

 

California Academy of Sciences On-Line: http://research.calacademy.org/

 

 

P. piraya - REFERENCES

 

Cuvier, G. 1819 Sur les poissons du sous-genre Hydrocyon, sur deux nouvelles espèces de Chalceus, sur trois nouvelles espèces du Serrasalmes, et sur l'Argentina glossodonta de Forskahl, qui est l'Albula gonorhynchus de Bloch. Mémoires du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (N. S.) (Série A) Zoologie v. 5: 351-379, Pls. 26-28.

 

Bertin, L. 1948 Catalogue des types de poissons du Muséum national d'Histoire Naturelle. 3e partie. Ostariophysaires (Characiniformes, Gymnotiformes). Catalogue des types de poissons du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. 4e partie. 3e partie: 1-49.

 

Myers, George S., 1972, The Piranha Book (M-539) TFH Publications, NJ.

 

Britski, H. A.   2001 Sobre a obra Velhas-Flodens Fiske [Peixes do Rio das Velhas]. In: Alves and Pompeu (organizers) Peixes do Rio das Vehlas: Passado e presente. Belo Horizonte, SEGRAC. cap. 1. Sobre a obra Velhas-Flodens Fiske [Peixes do Rio das Velhas].: 15-22.

 

Fink, W. L.   1993 (18 Aug.) Revision of the piranha genus Pygocentrus (Teleostei, Characiformes). Copeia 1993 (no. 3): 665-687.

 

California Academy of Sciences On-Line: http://research.calacademy.org/

 

 

P. palometa - REFERENCES

 

Cuvier, G.  and A. Valenciennes  1850 (Jan.) Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome vingt-deuxième. Suite du livre vingt-deuxième. Suite de la famille des Salmonoïdes. Table générale de l'Histoire Naturelle des Poissons (pp. 1-91). Histoire naturelle des poissons. v. 22: i-xx + 1 p. + 1-532 + 1-91, Pls. 634-650. [Valenciennes authored volume. Published as "1849". i-xvi + 1-395, index 1-81 (+ 1) in Strasbourg edition.]

 

Reis, R. E. , S. O. Kullander, and C. J. Ferraris, Jr.  2003 Check list of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. CLOFFSCA. Check list of the freshwater fishes of South and Central America. CLOFFSCA. 2003: i-xi + 1-729.

 

California Academy of Sciences On-Line: http://research.calacademy.org/

 

 

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UPDATED: 04/02/2012