Piranha Essay, Research Paper
IntroductionPeople usually aren’t scared to swim in a river or pond. If you live in South America however you should be. There is a predator that thrives in the water of Brazil. This predator is not as mighty as the Great White Shark, but nonetheless it can cause just as much damage when helped by all its hungry little friends. This animal is the piranha. Piranhas live in the waters of the Amazon and South America.Piranhas are famous because they are very dangerous and they eat flesh. They have powerful, razor sharp teeth. When a piranha shuts its mouth it is like a bear trap. They can tear a victim to pieces in seconds and can consume an animal the size of a pig. The attack happens so quickly that the river seems like a boiling pot of blood. Any commotion in the water immediately attracts schools of piranha. However, piranhas normally do not attack people. Piranhas hunt by speed and surprise. The typical way a piranha attacks is by swimming directly into a school of fish. When the piranha is starving because it lives in a part of a river that is cut off from the main river because of, for example, a dry spell it becomes especially ferocious and will attack anything it can.Some piranhas eat fruit. Their normal diet is small fish, but sometimes they will eat large mammals. They can eat more then ten pounds of food. An entire school can eat more than 110 pounds of food. The wimple piranha rubs up against the side of other fish and eats their scales. Some piranhas eat water plants. If they are hungry they will also eat another piranha. If a large piranha goes hungry it will eat its another of its kind, even if it is a baby. Species of Piranha The black piranha or serrasalmus niger is considered one of the most dangerous and ferocious of its kind. It will attack anything that enters its domain. The characteristics of a black piranha are dark gray color, hump-backed with strongly compressed body, and it has red eyes. Another characteristic of the black piranha is its aggressiveness. If it is kept in an aquarium and other fish are put in the tank the black piranha will fight them until they are all dead or they kill him. The black piranha is the biggest of all species of piranha. It is also know for its tremendous strength. For example, when two black piranhas were kept together in a large bucket for only a few minutes they began to fight. Also, when three red bellied piranhas were kept in a tank with a pleco catfish they never harmed the catfish. Once a black piranha was put in the tank it immediately kill the catfish. Also another example of the black piranhas immense strength is that a 12 inch black piranha was able to knock the top off of a tank and jump out of the water and land 15 fifteen feet away. The black piranha also has the most muscular jaw. Black piranhas are capable of biting air hoses in half. The black piranha’s aggression towards other black piranha is equal to none other. Whenever they encounter another black piranha they immediately attack the other with their most aggressive techniques. It almost appears as though the black piranhas try to attack the other one first because they know that the other one is going to attack them. So it is like trying to throw the first punch in a fight. The black piranha and the white piranha look very similar when they are less than six inches in length. The red piranha or serrasalmus nattereri is the piranha that most people think of when they think of piranhas. It is the best known of all the species of piranha. They are also the most common to be found in captivity. The red piranha is grayish-brown in color with a red-orange color on its under belly. The red piranha is small in comparison to most of the other piranha species. It measures only ten and a halve inches when it is full-grown. Red piranhas are the only known species of piranha to live wildly in the United States. There have been many sightings of the red piranha in the United States. They have been caught in Boca Raton Florida, Ft. Lauderdale in Broward County, Massachusetts, and several other reported states including Texas, Michigan, Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Red piranhas have a reputation for being vicious killers. This is not necessarily true. The red piranha is a pack piranha. The less of them there are the more timid they become. If, for example, you have only three piranhas in a tank and you put your hand in the tank they will swim away from it. However, if there are a hundred red piranhas in the tank they will savagely attack your hand. Red piranhas are not like the black piranha in that they will attack each other upon contact. This is a story that proves that it takes a lot to turn red piranha on each other. When three red piranhas were kept in a tank together where there were two fair-sized piranhas and one significantly larger piranha this is what happened. The largest of the three piranhas would bully the other two. The larger piranha would take bites out of the other two. Well after this went on for some time the other two finally killed the larger one. The red piranha is somewhat gentle but it is still a very dangerous fish, which should not be disrespected. Biology of a Piranha The biology of the piranha is very complex. The teeth of the piranha are especially interesting. The teeth of a piranha are not made for crushing or holding prey. Their teeth are made for taking nice, neat little bites out of their prey. A piranha’s mouth is not very big. An average bite from a piranha would take out a chunk of flesh about the size of an olive. A school of piranha could easily attack and kill almost any animal that enters the water. The strength in a piranha’s jaw is incredible. The muscle mass in the piranha’s jaw is very dense and powerful. The way the muscles attach to the piranha’s jaw makes it an ideal weapon for the piranha.Fish mostly satisfies a piranha’s appetite. However, they have the capability to tear the strongest mammals to shreds.The body of a piranha is important for identification and it also provides information about the habits of the fish. Most piranhas body shape is high-backed, stocky, and very skinny. Their head is relatively large. The male often has a slightly slimmer build, but other than that there are not many other external differences between the male and the female.The fins enable the fish to control all of their movements. The fins are a very distinct distinguishing factor in determining the species of piranha that it is. The fins are named after the areas of the body that they are inserted in. The only exception to this naming technique is the adipose fin.The skeletal and musculature structure of the piranha enables it to attack with the ferocity that it does. The main function of the skeleton is to support the whole musculature and to provide a base for the muscles to be attached to. It also protects the brain and other vital organs by enclosing them. The swimming movement is snake-like and performed by the lateral body muscles and the caudal fin.The teeth are the most terrifying part of the piranha’s anatomy. The lower jaw is big and immensely powerful. This makes the piranha lower jaw protrude which gives the piranha its bulldog appearance. The piranha’s strong muscles and tendons ensure the optimal functioning of the piranha’s teeth. With this strong and powerful combination the piranha is capable of shredding anything it needs to. The piranha is often portrayed as a ferocious and dangerous animal. This is not always the case. The piranha can be a very unique pet to keep. There are many people who keep this exotic fish in an aquarium. This is not to say that just anyone should own a piranha. You must be experienced or become experienced to keep one of these fish at home. If you know what you are doing than it can be a very interesting and educational experience to own one of these fish.