A SHOAL of captive-bred baby piranhas has gone on display at Blue Reef Aquarium.
The 15 red bellied piranhas, each measuring around three centimetres in length, were all born in captivity and have now grown large enough to go on public display in the aquarium’s nursery feature.
They will remain in the nursery until they have grown large enough to be transferred into the main Amazon freshwater tank.
Blue Reef’s director, Chris Ireland, said: “Piranhas may not be everybody’s favourite fish species but the babies, despite their fearsome reputation, are actually really cute and have beautiful markings.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to depict a very different side of these infamous freshwater fish.
Found throughout the Amazon, the piranha, or cannibal fish, is among the most famous and most feared inhabitants of the mighty river.
They are reputed to be able to strip the flesh from a cow within minutes. With razor sharp teeth and exceptional jaw strength they can even leave marks on steel.
In the wild piranhas help to keep rivers fresh and healthy by eating animal carcasses. The name ‘piranha’ comes from the Tupi Indian words ‘pira’, meaning ‘fish’ and ranha, meaning ‘teeth’.
Only around half of the 35 species of piranha are carnivores, but when trapped in pools and lakes formed by drying rivers in droughts, meat eating piranhas will attack and eat all that they can find.