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To report an AIS
sighting or to find out
more information call
1-888-WDFW-AIS

Questions or comments regarding the state's Aquatic Invasive Species and Ballast Water Management Programs may be directed to:

Allen Pleus
AIS Coordinator
(360) 902-2724
Allen.Pleus@dfw.wa.gov

 
View WAC 220-12-090
Classification - Nonnative aquatic
animal species with photos

Pygocentrus nattereri (Red-Bellied piranha)

Animal Fish
Family: Characidae
Classification: Prohibited

The Characidae family is an extremely large one that includes the various tetra species commonly found in the pet trade. The genera Pygocentrus contains what are though of as true piranhas or caribes. This genera includes P. nattereri, the red-bellied piranha, which grows to about 12 inches. The genera Rooseveltia has become invalid, because it had been previously used on another animal species. The genus Serrasalmus is a large complex of as many as 12-14 closely related species. This classification has been revised several times. The most common “piranha” in the class is S. rhombeus, which grows up to 18 inches. The species undergo so many morphological changes as they mature that the rhombeus is called “white piranha” and “black piranha.” Generally speaking these fish have laterally compressed bodies, and short powerful jaws with triangular interlocking teeth. They are carnivorous and will bite anything that moves.