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Goulding's Piranha

Serrasalmus gouldingi

Fink and Machado-Allison, 1992

Etymology: Named after Michael Goulding






From Frank Magallanes


A may be possible that S. gouldingi is actually a Pristobrycon! (see Freeman, et al).


A new species of piranha in the genus Serrasalmus is described from the Rio Negro and the Rio Japur, of Brazil, and a tributary of the Rio Casiquiare of Venezuela. Serrasalmus gouldingi is a serrasalmin unique in having the following combination of features: proximal black band on caudal fin, vertically elongated stripes on the lateral body, and no prominent vertical humeral blotch. Fink and Machado-Allison 1992). It is easy for many hobbyist to confuse S. manueli for S. gouldingi. Even scientists today are attempting to narrow down the similarities via DNA. Both species run close together morphologically and difficult to distinguish except by locality and some minor color differences and body markings. It is my hope that by reading the color of life description it will help hobbyists to better determine which species they possess. 


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Little is known on the care of this species. Much of what is being learned is hands on experience in the home aquarium by hobbyists. Recommend keeping as solitary species in home aquarium. A large aquarium (100 gallons or larger) is recommended. Heavy filtration (powerhead) is required. Juveniles are difficult to feed, suggest mashing cut fish or shrimp. This allows the fish to smell the food and show interest in it. Expect your fish to go through periods of fasting, vary the diet. Keep the water warm (78-82F) pH 6.8 to 7.4. Water quality is important so keep a test kit handy.




This species is different from the rest of the genus Serrasalmus from Venezuela by having a very pronounced, large rhomboid body. Very robust head and bulldog-like mouth, large eyes, pugnacious lower jaw. The ectopterygoid teeth are few in number (1-3) variable ontogenetically. The base of the dorsal fin is moderate with 2, 14-16 branched rays. The preanal spine is present. Vertebrate 37-38, usually 38. Numerous small scales. Lateral line 93-97, usually 95. Prepelvic serrae 24-25, postpelvic 8-10. Branched spines are shot the base wide, 23-27, usually 25. (Machado-Allison and Fink 1996).


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The flank of the fish is silver with bluish metallic iridescence, often with dark pigmentation along the border of the infraorbital (gill edge). The eye color is metallic blue with a dark vertical band transecting the pupil and orbit of the eye. During ontogeny the eye color progresses from metallic blue to copper (brown with a tinge of red) to black. The dorsal and posterior of the head, mouth and part of the lower mandible is black. Some examples have pigmentation in the humeral area. The dorsal fin, anal, caudal and adipose fin are tinted (dark). The caudal fin has a dark border and the posterior hyaline (like a dark "V"). In juveniles, the fins are generally hyaline except the base of the caudal. In adult examples during reproduction, the body is very dark with a coppery tone (brownish with tint of red). The ovals (elongated body spots) are very evident on preserved juveniles, but inconspicuous on live specimens, with the exception of very small juveniles.  In comparison with S. manueli, S. gouldingi humeral blemish is much smaller and does not extend as far as S. manueli. The body of S. gouldingi is much deeper than S. manueli or S. rhombeus.



27.9 SL



Brazil, Venezuela; DRAINAGE: Casiquiare, Cinaruco


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UPDATED: 12/06/2015