Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 51–57 | Cite as

Feeding chronology of juvenile piranhas, Pygocentrus notatus, in the Venezuelan llanos

  • Leo G. Nico
Full paper


During the 1988 rainy season, I studied the 24 h feeding chronology of juvenile (40–68 mm standard length) piranhas, Pygocentrus notatus (Characidae: Serrasalminae) from a natural population inhabiting a small savanna stream in Apure State, Venezuela. Stomach contents analyses, supported by laboratory determinations of digestion rate, showed that these fish are primarily diurnal carnivores. Predatory activity on 4–5 August 1988 increased markedly after sunrise, peaked around 1100 h, and essentially stopped after sunset. Means of stomach content weight-to-fish weight ratios among the periods sampled were significantly different. Small fish were the major prey at all hours (81% of total prey volume). Underlying factors responsible for the observed 24 h feeding patterns were not investigated, but avoidance of predation by adult piranhas, which were very active near sunset, may have been important.

Key words

Fish diets Fish feeding Diel feeding Characidae Serrasalminae Serrasalmus South American fish Tropical fish 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo G. Nico
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleU.S.A.

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