Photo restricted use to use only. Property of M. Reilly.WELCOME TO OPEFE ARCHIVES


Pirambeba Dorada or Piranha Negra


 Serrasalmus spilopleura

KNER 1858







This species was originally described from Rio Guapore, Bobota, Mato Grosso, Brazil (Kner 1858:166 [6] [Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. Wien v. 32 (no. 22)). However, Jegu 2001 places populations of S. spilopleura as widespread according to the distribution below. Because an error in misidentification was made between S. spilopleura and S. eigenmanni  in Jegu and colleague in 2001, spilopleura is found only in Bolivia according to Hubert et al. 2007, 2010. On the above left corner is the only photo I have of a correctly identified specimen (per M. Jegu) of S. spilopleura. Below is the living example (same as pictured above) in an aquarium. Video by Martin Reilly;



The maps shown below are approximate range of certain species. It does not show the complete range. No other species has given me so much reason to pause and consider as this one and S. maculatus. The problem centers on the description and rehabilitation of the species. 


This rehabilitation places the true S. spilopleura from the Guaporé Basin of Western Brazil (Bolivian side rio Itenez) only (see). The Central Amazon fishes are S. maculatus. To further add to this confusion, the fish from the Pantanal region have not been  rehabilitated but is being recognized as S. maculatus as well. So hobbyists are cautioned about using either name on the species from that region until more is learned.




Serrasalmus spilopleura Kner [R.] 1858:166 [6] [Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe v. 32 (no. 22); Rio Guaporé, Bobota, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Lectotype: NMW 57085. Paralectotypes: NMW 16344 (1, dry), 79457-59 (1, 1, 1, all dry). Appeared in more detail in Kner 1860:43 [p. 35 of separate], Pl. 5 (fig. 11). Lectotype designated by Jégu & Santos 2001:125. •Valid as Serrasalmus spilopleura Kner 1858 -- (Ortega & Vari 1986:9, Cestari & Galetti 1992, Gómez & Chebez 1996:51, Britski et al. 1999:66, Butí & Cancino 1999:71, Nakayama et al. 2000:149, Jégu & Santos 2001:119, Lasso et al. 2001:96, Jégu in Reis et al. 2003:192, López et al. 2003:32, Casciotta et al. 2003:116, Menni 2004:78). Current status: Valid as Serrasalmus spilopleura Kner 1858.


MAP showing rio Itenez where S. spilopleura is found. It begins at the mouth of the Mamore.

Map showing rio Itenez where S. spilopleura is found. It begins at the mouth of the Mamore.



MAXIMUM SIZE - According to (expect errors).


20.0 cm SL.




Guaporé River basin, Paraná River basin: Argentina and Brazil.








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UPDATED: 11/14/2014