Piranhas are a group of carnivorous freshwater fish. Inhabit some rivers of South America They belong to five genera of the subfamily Serrasalminae (which also includes fish such as pacu and the called golden fish).
The word "piranha" is a hybrid term that has its origin in Tupi-guarani language may have originated in the composition of the words 'pirá', meaning 'fish' + 'ranha', meaning 'tooth'. Or - even, it can be originated 'pirá' ('fish') + 'Anha' ('cutter').
It is a fish very voracious predator gifted with very strong jaws. Most piranhas are fast, but usually attack when they are encouraged to do so. Among the numerous species of piranhas, some are cannibals - others, not, but all have aggressive behaviors. Piranhas are close relatives of Pacus and are often confused with them when still small.
Fears of 'Testicle-Eating' Fish Overblown
BITTTEN ON THE FOOT. On a Friday, July 26 (2013), a visitor of the State of Sao Paulo, the
young Vitor Rodrigues Baptista, 15 years - was attacked during a walk in
the Lagoon. The victim had to be hospitalized.
CEARA state/BRAZIL - In Lagoa do Catu (Catu lagoon), at Aquiraz, metropolitan region of Fortaleza (state capital), a turistic point, attacks of "piranhas brancas" (pirampebas, white pirañas, serrasalmus brandti) are scaring the visitants - making impossible the baths and recreational activities on site.
On a Friday, July 26 (2013), a visitor of the State of Sao Paulo, the young Vitor Rodrigues Baptista, 15 years - was attacked during a walk in the Lagoon. The victim had to be hospitalized.
The attacks in the Lagoa de Catu are been happening since 2009 (even before) and has resulted in significant damage to local tourism.
There some years, government actions have tried to combat superpopulation of piranhas which presence isn't natural in the environment.
The action of combat to the invasors includes the introduction of a natural predator of piranhas: the tilapias. However, this providence, in these almost four years, don't produced the effect desired. The population of piranhas remains constant and growing.
The Secretary of State for Fisheries and Aquaculture of Ceará, Ricardo Campos, explained that the attacks are occurring due to an imbalance in the food chain.
The pirambebas are predators and, in environment of the lagoon, they haven't enemies above them in the food chain nor the usual preys that are their food in their natural habitat.
So there is an imbalance: the fishes begin to practice the canibalism and, even, attack human beings to satisfy their hungry for meat.
The pirambeba is not native from that place and came to the pond after a flooding. The pirambeba is native of Ceara, but originally they live in the waters of the Lima Campos reservoir (distant 400 km from Aquiraz).
In 1992, with the construction of the Canal do Trabalhador (a channel), which function is to conduce the water from the Jaguaribe river to supply the city of Fortaleza - new migration routes were created allowing the invasion of piranhas in watersheds that never before harbored this species.
The invasion of piranhas is not restricted to freshwaters cearences. In
Barragem do Bezerro (Bezerro dam), city of José de Freitas, Piaui
state, in a single weekend, were reported around a hundred of attacks of
Also at Piauí state, in 2011, the Barragem do Bezerro (Bezerro Dam, ABOVE) received 100,000 tilapia to try to control overpopulation of piranhas.
BELOW: Lagoa do Portinho - Piaui, unauthorized access to bathers.
PARA state. At São Geraldo do Araguaia city, southeast of Pará state (brazilian North Region) - in Praia da Gaivota (Gaivota beach, Araguaia river), swimmers have been victims of attacks by piranhas.
Amid shadows of the stones: piranhas, the little carnivorous monsters of freshwater.
The technician of the health post of the beach, the nurse Danilo Barbosa, succours victims, injured in attacks, every weekend. He himself was a victim of bites and informs: We we attended average 10 to 15 cases of piranhas bites per day.
The cases have been happening there already for 4 years. Only in July this year (2013), 122 swimmers were victims of attacks. According to the firemen, the most cases occurs in a place of the beach where exists a large amount of stones. The biologist Cristina Vieira explains the behavior of the fishes.
Possibly it is breeding season, then they can be protecting their offspring. Another motivation for their massive presence are the food scraps, thrown in the water by marketers and bathers. This attracts small species that are food for the piranhas. By this way, places like this can become a point of concentration for these voracious carnivores of freshwater.
The Fire Department can't ban the entry of the bathers in Praia das Gaivotas, but ensures that guides them about possible attacks piranhas in the river. IBAMA technicians, of the Municipal Environment Secretary are mapping the area to instruct security measures that able to prevent further attacks.
DENMARK. The recent capture of a fish species off the coast of Denmark that is rumored to sometimes mistake human male genitalia for nuts sparked fears of "testicle-eating fish" invading Scandinavian water... the fish is called pacu... Pacus look like piranhas...
MORE in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, August 13, 2013
MADEIRO, Carlos. Ataque de piranhas afasta banhistas de lagoa turística no litoral do Ceará.
UOL NOTICIAS, 08/AUGUST/2013
Banhistas são atacados por piranhas em São Geraldo do Araguaia, PA.
Superpopulação de piranhas afasta turistas da Lagoa do Portinho no litoral piauiense.