Putting the Bite on The Piranha Myth



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i always like to find facts that change my stereotypes of certain things like how piranhas would annihilate anything you gave them (which is still somewhat true) but they're not as aggressive as i thought they would be.

PIRANHA may not deserve their reputation as the ferocious man-eaters that almost made mincemeat of James Bond, new research shows. Scientists found that the legendary South American fish swim in dense shoals not to hunt down victims but to protect themselves.

Professor Anne Magurran, of St Andrews University, who is investigating the fish in collaboration with Dr Helder Queiroz of the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Institute in Brazil, said: "Contrary to popular belief, and their sharp teeth, piranha are omnivores. They are scavengers more than predators, eating mainly fish, plant material and insects.

"Piranha are under constant attack from a number of large predators including river dolphins, caiman, a relative of the crocodile, and some of the world's largest fish, such as the pirarucu, which can grow up to three metres long. Their cautious behaviour is crucial to avoid being eaten.

"We have grown up with this image of them on the movie screen ripping people apart, but that is not being wholly fair to them. They can be aggressive if they are provoked or have limited space ... but that sort of behaviour is the exception rather than the rule.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Coolwaters July 3, 2007 at 10:56 am

wow seriously misunderstood…but i still wont swim next to them….

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