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Piranha Saicanga

Serrasalmus hollandi

Reinhardt in Lutken, 1874

LEFT Serrasalmus hollandi? -Bolivia








Questionable species, though the name is scientifically valid at this time. S. hollandi was described from the Rio Guapore. The species was compared by M. Jégu & Dos Santos (2001) with S. eigenmanni and S. aureus. The species name remains valid as of this date, though the holotype is lost. A number of fishes imported into the hobby are not S. hollandi but some other species, namely S. eigenmanni, a similar appearing widespread species. The fish on the left (bottom) is the holotype image of S. hollandi while the image at the top left resembles a live S. hollandi from Rio Guapore. This photo appears in The Piranha Book edited by G.S. Meyers (1972). The image on the bottom right, is a specimen collected from Pando, Bolivia and is cataloged as S. hollandi.



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S. hollandi? juvenile

Rio San Martin, Bolivia

Photo taken from the Myers, The Piranha Book TFH Publications. Educational Use only.

S. hollandi? The Piranha Book, G. S. Myers

Copyright TFH Publications, Inc. Educational Use Only.

S. calmoni?, a species appearing similar to S. hollandi? The Piranha Book, G. S. Myers, page 84

Map of geographical locality range

juvenile specimen identified  by authority to be S. hollandi (Bolivia).


The species is based on a single specimen described. Holland's piranha is rhomboid with a prominent humeral spot on the flank. The species is heavily spotted, but spotting diminishes midway to the belly area. The caudal fin edging is hyaline and a very dark blotch in a form of a "V" is prominent on the hypural margin extending out. The holotype image (see top) provided to OPEFE by Dr. Antonio Machado is of an S. hollandi at approximately 109 mm SL. According to Dr. William L. Fink he has many species cataloged as S. hollandi by South American collectors, majority are S. rhombeus juvenile forms.


The species collected from southern Brazil and Bolivia as S. hollandi are believed by some authorities to be  S. (Pristobrycon) eigenmanni a similar appearing species. In my own experience with seeing hundreds of these imported into the aquarium trade, the fish being purchased as S. hollandi are often times, S. sanchezi  juvenile forms from Peru. Other forms being imported as S. hollandi appear to be a juvenile form of S. compressus another wide-spread species. The imported species also present the terminal caudal band, except S. sanchezi, depending on locality may exhibit a near hyaline tail band giving the appearance of having only a dark "V".


Hobbyists are cautioned against purchasing any species of piranha being sold as S. hollandi as questionable at the present time.




The map to the left, shows a portion of the range S. hollandi. Serrasalmo hollandi (Eigenmann, Ann. Carnegie Mus. ix. 1915, p. 251, pl. XIVIII. Depth of body 2 1/6 in the length, length of head about 3 1/3. Upper profile a little concave above eyes. Snout a little shorter than eye, diameter of which is a little more than 3½ in length of head; interorbital width 2 3/5. Second suborbital of moderate width, separate from angle of pre-operculum by a space equal to nearly ½ diameter of eye. Lower jaw is projecting; palatines with 5 well-developed teeth. Ventral serrae 37 (25+ 12?). Dorsal II 14; origin about equidistant from end of snout and base of caudal; length of base 3 3/5 in depth of body, nearly 1 2/3 in distance from upper caudal fulcra. Adipose fin not rayed, base about 4, its distance from rayed dorsal a little less than base of that fin. Anal III 29; length of base 3 1/4 in that of body, 13/5 in depth of body. Pectoral about 1 3\5 in head. Origin of pelvics nearer last anal ray than tip of lower jaw. Upper parts of body with round dark spots; a dark blotch on the shoulder; basal part of caudal dark. Hab. Rio Guaporé. Total length 130 mm (5 inches TL).


Jegu, 2001

page 18 (136)

S. hollandi describes the Guaporé Pristobrycon and Eigenmann. Santos (1990) cites three species Guaporé and reports of the presence of a fourth form of the Jamari, a right tributary of Madeira, with the caudal edge of the hyaline and identified S. aureus. These species are all different types of S. spilopleura. S. hollandi differs from S. spilopleura by the more general form of the body rhomboidal, head more slender, the dorsal inserted far forward, the infraorbital 3 and 4 broader and bare area closer to the cheek (Fig. 8c-e). In addition, S. hollandi, between 50 and 185 mm SL. This 6-10 pairs of teeth ectopterygoid  (Table VI) against less than 5 S. spilopleura, by Kner (1858). Finally, the mark at the base of the caudal fin in S.hollandi is crescent shaped and much narrower than in S. spilopleura.

The type of coloration of the tail of P. eigenmanni  is close to that of S. spilopleura, especially for large specimens in whom the distal edge of the band tail is straight. The number of teeth is low in ectopterygoid specimens of P. eigenmanni over 100 mm SL (Table VI).


In P. eigenmanni, S. spilopleura, the muzzle is short and pug, narrow infraorbital bones (Fig. 8c 8e) and the large gap in the cheek (Fig. 8d). P. eigenmanni is different types of S. spilopleura by body height (Fig. 8a) and the insertion of the dorsal farther back (Fig. 8b). Moreover, in P. eigenmanni diameter of the eye is slightly larger. Serrasalmus spilopleura and S. maculatus interdorsal distances and longer pre-anal and dorsal and pectoral more shorter than in S. spilopleura (Tableau! VII).


The specimen from the Rio Jamari (Rondonia, Brazil) identified S. aureus by Santos (1990) presents a well-growing fairly large caudal (Fig. 9a), but differs from types of S. spilopleura the narrower interorbital (11.6% of SL vs. 12.3 to 13.8% in S. spilopleura) and the much wider infraorbital 3 (11.2% vs LS less than 9% S. spilopleura). The black spots on the flanks are much larger in this specimen, but we observed such a variation between specimens of P. eigenmanni 130 and 140! Mm SL, from the same collection station (MNHN 1989-1362). Santos (1990: Fig.186) reported Serrasalmus sp.1, the Guaporé and Jamari, including general appearance of the body and morphometric characteristics are very similar to those of S. spilopleura (TableVII), including the level of the infraorbital series. The head and base of the ridge are slightly longer than the types of S. spilopleura. None of these specimens of teeth does the palate. The black dots on the sides, the presence of a humeral marks and gray color of the tip of the first rays of the anal is similar that we observed on the lectotype of S. spilopleura. These specimens differ types of S. spilopleura by the mere presence of a gray to black band located the tip of the tail (Fig. 9b), although specimens have the caudal edge of the most clear.


These specimens can not be identified in S. spilopleura Kner. Examination of additional material from the Guaporé will better appreciate the variability type of coloration of the caudal and possibly expand the diagnosis S. spilopleura. S. spilopleura this type of color much like that of specimens S. gouldingi Fink & Machado-Allison, preserved in alcohol (Fink and Machado-Allison, 1992!: Fig. 2). The two species are not more than five teeth on the palate, teeth have shapes adjacent to the premaxilla (ibid: fig. 8b). But in S. gouldingi 3 covers the infraorbital completely plays while that of S. spilopleura reminds Pristobrycon careospinus (Ibid.: Fig. 8b).


The truncated form of the infraorbital 3 with a wide gap, the low number of ectopterygoid teeth and lower teeth as seen in the premaxilla S. spilopleura also recall the characters of Pristobrycon calmoni, type species of Pristobrycon. Only obtaining new specimens of Serrasalmus spilopleura Kner, 1858, associated with an osteological study finer will better appreciate the relationship of this species with the kind Pristobrycon.


Variability of morphometric characters of Serrasalmus hollandi  and Pristobrycon eigenmanni of the Bolivian Amazon (numbers in parentheses indicate the number of specimens examined for these characters).


Table VI

égu, M. and G. M. dos Santos   2001 Mise au point à propos de Serrasalmus spilopleura Kner, 1858 et réhabilitation de S. maculatus

Table VII

Jégu, M. and G. M. dos Santos   2001 Mise au point à propos de Serrasalmus spilopleura Kner, 1858 et réhabilitation de S. maculatus

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18.5 cm SL (7 1/4 inches SL) or approximately 9 inches TL.




Madeira R. basin and ? Guyana rivers: Brazil and Guiana (?).







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UPDATED: 12/10/2015