Carnivorous species have blunt heads and powerful jaws with sharp, wedge-shaped teeth that mesh like cutting shears and enable the fishes to cut the flesh from prey, which consists mostly of other fishes but also includes amphibians, birds, and mammals.
Carnivorous piranhas associate in large schools and are attracted by commotion and the scent of blood. Once aroused, they can quickly reduce a large mammal to a skeleton, although such incidents are rare. About four species are considered dangerous. Piranhas are also scavengers, and they are considered fine food fishes.
Scientific classification: Piranhas belong to the family Characidae of the order Characiformes. They make up the genera Pygopristis, Pygocentris, Pristobrycon, and Serrasalmus.
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Piranha.There are at least two dozen species of South American tropical rain forest fish that are grouped together under the name of piranha. Ranging in size from under 15 cm (6 in) to nearly 60 cm (24 in), the piranha is perhaps the most feared of all fish in the rain forest due to the razor-sharp teeth along the leading edge of both jaws. Although some species are strictly carnivorous, not all are considered dangerous to man.
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