Very widespread, found in Venezuela, Surinam, Guyana's, Brazil, northern Argentina.
up to 30cm. (12")
Juvenile S. Spilopleura look very similar to other very young Serrasalmus piranha's (and Pygocentrus species as well), and have a silverish coloration, often with hints of green towards the upper body. They are covered with numerous small dark spots and have a very concave head shape. The older this fish gets, the more convex the shape of the head gets, until it very much resembles Pygocentrus piranha's. The usual color is bright gold to yellow in the lower body, changing to a silverish yellow the further you get to the back. Some specimen are covered faded dark spots, but this is not very common. The fins on the lower side of the body are yellowish, the dorsal and adipose fin are dark grey. The caudal fin is lightly colored with a darker base, and has a dark terminal band. The eyes are red. There are a number of color variations and very similar (sub- ?)species, which makes proper classification hard (for example: Purple Spilopleura, Serrasalmus Maculatus). These 'odd-ball' variations have a purple coloration, sometimes only in the head region, sometimes the entire body.
- Tail fin has clear terminal band (hyaline edge).
This is one of the few Serrasalmus-species that has been shoaled (more or less) succesfully. To accomplish this, a very large tank (the minimum is 20 gallons per fish when small, more when larger) is absolutely necessary, due to its fin-nipping and agressive nature. Most people keep this species alone in a tank.
Not very tolerant towards tank mates, and in particular its own kind. Keeping this fish in a group is possible, if enough tank space is available (at least 30-40 gallons per fish). In some instances, S. Spilopleura has been kept together with Pygocentrus piranha's, but due to it's parasitic lifestyle (scale-eater, fin-nipper), this are rare occurrences.
Fish (frozen fish, fillets and live feeders), shrimps and other crustaceans.
In the wild, as well as in the home aquarium, this species is an aggressive scale eater and fin-nipper when smaller.
It is thought S. Spilopleura is in actuality a complex of similar looking, but slightly different species. These differences can be caused by differences in habitat, diet etc. Next to Pygocentrus Nattereri, and more recently Pygocentrus Cariba, this species is the only one that has been bred in the home aquarium.
By: Jonas Hansel (Thank you for the great information)