Tag Archives: humeralis

Serrasalmus humeralis

2. November 2020

The identification of many Piranha species is difficult. One of the earliest described piranha species and therefore with many taxonomic problems is Serrasalmus humeralis. Valenciennes was the first descriptor in 1850, but there is no question that he had received the type specimen, for which he states “Amazon” as the type locality, from Castelnau. In Valenciennes ́ description no picture is provided. Castelnau made up for this in 1855 and at the same time corrected the type locality to “Araguaia”. It must therefore be assumed that S. humeralis is found in the Tocantins system. Castelnau’s drawing is very true to detail and there is no reason to assume that it does not correspond to nature in the essential details. 

The piranhas, which we now imported from the Tocantins as Serraslmus humeralis, correspond in all essential characteristics (shoulder spot, caudal fin pattern, body shape, coloration) to Castelnaus’ illustration, but have so far been identified in the aquaristic and scientific literature as S. eigenmanni. The latter species was described in 1929 on the basis of a specimen from Guyana. If S. humeralis and S. eigenmanni are identical, the valid name would be S. humeralis. However, we currently assume that both species are valid and only very similar.

Serrasalmus humeralis grows about 20 cm long. It belongs to the group of fin-eating piranhas, which are best kept individually in the aquarium on a long-term basis, if one wants undamaged specimens. For unpredictable reasons, Piranhas of the fin-eating behavior type – often after months of living together – look out and mob an individual of the group. The mobbed individual becomes marked with a bite mark directly before the  dorsal fin. Usually the mobbed fish is eaten after some days by the remaining herd, independently of the available food supply. The attempt of a group-attitude requires by the way really very big aquariums, in basins under 150 cm length, such attempts are hopeless from the outset.

For our customers: the fish have code 292254 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Serrasalmus manueli

11. January 2019

This piranha, described from Venezuela, is easily recognizable by its characteristic pattern in connection with the head profile, but still causes great confusion, as the fish in the trade come from completely different areas and are still indistinguishable. 

S. manueli was described as Pygocentrus manueli from the Río Paraguaza, middle Orinoco, Venezuela. The first description was made in a journal which is not generally accessible and so it only became known to the scientific community through the work of Machado-Allison, especially Machado-Allison 2002. Therefore these piranhas were often misidentified before as Serrasalmus humeralis. 

Two characteristics make S. manueli very special: firstly the mostly vertically extended body points and secondly the head anatomy. Only S. gouldingi has the same head shape as a juvenile fish, with the lower jaw appearing very massive and rectangular. However, S. gouldingi has no humeral spot, which is always clearly pronounced in S. manueli. 

S. manueli is one of the largest piranha species with a maximum length of more than 35 cm. Adults of S. manueli have a round head profile, a blood-red head, a large humeral spot, a white-silvery body and a blackish tail fin. Apart from the population in Venezuela, there is also a population in the Rio Negro and the Rio Xingu in Brazil. Like all piranhas of the genus Serrasalmus, this species should normally be kept individually as it is a fin eater.

For our customers: the animals have code 292294 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer