Tuesday, November 10, 2009

red piranha (Serrasalmus rhombeus)


"One morning, deep in the Amazon jungle, a native woman cut her hand while washing clothes on the flat stones set in the bank of the small stream bordering her village. Forgetful, she waded into the dark water to wash away the blood. Suddenly, the stream came alive, churning with piranhas in a hungry frenzy. Hearing her screams, the villagers rushed to her rescue, but in the brief moment it took to reach her, these ferocious fish had reduced her body to shreds. Hundreds such stories are told of the fanatical fury of these fish, but oddly, the piranha in captivity undergoes a strange transformation, and becomes almost a different fish. Alone or with only one or two others, it becomes nervous and jittery, easily frightened by a sudden movement outside the aquarium tank. Still capable of slicing a piece off another fish in the tank, the lonely piranha seldom demonstrates the boldness it possesses when surrounded by others of its kind."

--Animal World in Color, Volume 8 - Hunters: Birds, Fish, and Amphibians, edited by Maurice Burton, Childrens Press: Chicago, 1969

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