Red-bellied piranhas have a fearsome reputation as ferocious predators. This is due to their powerful jaws and razor-sharp triangular teeth that lock onto their food. However, they are in fact quite timid scavengers and their image has been blown out of proportion.
Piranhas locate their prey by scent or motion, using a set of sensors down their body called their lateral line system.
The name ‘piranha’ comes from the South American native language Tupi-Guarani and means ‘cut the skin’.