Fun Wimple Piranha Facts For Kids

Ayan Banerjee
Jan 13, 2023 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Wimple piranha facts include having silver skin on top and golden shades at the belly bottom.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

When we hear the word 'piranha', the first thing coming to our minds is about the piranha movies we have watched, where a flesh-eating shoal of hungry piranha species attacks humans. But, wimple piranhas are the smallest breed of freshwater piranhas and they certainly do not kill humans or any species much bigger in size compared to them.

The wimple piranha, Catoprion mento, is a unique species of piranha that originated in the rivers of South America and Venezuela. These fishes belong to the kingdom of Animalia and the family Serrasalmidae. Wimple piranhas can grow up to 6 in (15.2 cm) long, have a natural habitat of freshwater in streams, lakes, and rivers where they diet on scales of other fishes and the submerged plantations. These fishes can also be stored in an aquarium.

For more relatable content, check out these piranha fish facts and catfish facts for kids.

Wimple Piranha Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wimple piranha?

The wimple piranha, Catoprion mento, is a fish belonging to the nearest piranha species.

What class of animal does a wimple piranha belong to?

The wimple piranha, Catoprion mento, belongs to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Actinopterygii, family Serrasalmidae, tribe piranha, and genus Catoprion.

How many wimple piranhas are there in the world?

On recent evaluation, almost 40-60 different species of piranhas are classified into 12 species of families. The distribution of wimple piranhas in this world is countless.

Where does a wimple piranha live?

The wimple piranha (Catoprion mento) is generally distributed in the Paraguay river basins of South America, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, shallow streams of Amazon, and Pantanal wetlands of the Mato Grosso. This species of fish can also be conserved in an aquarium.

What is a wimple piranha's habitat?

The environment in which Catoprion mento inhabits is the tropical freshwaters of streams and lakes with underwater plantations and also in the aquarium. The piranha fish is also found in muddy shallow waters and the river basins in Amazon and America.

Who do wimple piranhas live with?

The wimple piranha, Catoprion mento, lives in the tropical clear water streams and lakes with large cichlids, armored catfish, red-belly piranha, shrimps, guppies, danios, and other small community fish. Snappy crocodiles and map turtles inhabiting murphy water feed on wimple piranhas.

How long does a wimple piranha live?

Catoprion mento, live for 8-10 years or more in their natural environment and also when conserved in a wimple piranha care aquarium.

How do they reproduce?

The female wimple piranha lays thousands of eggs near water plants. The eggs then stick to the underwater plants. The male fish then digs the eggs and fertilizes them. After fertilization, the eggs attached to the plants hatch within three to five days. If the eggs are left unattended, they might be eaten by other underwater small fish.

What is their conservation status?

From the recent researches, the wimple piranha, Catoprion mento, currently have no risk of extinction. They are mainly found in tropical freshwater and have a life span of ten years almost. They are also kept in the aquarium.

Wimple Piranha Fun Fact

What does a wimple piranha look like?

Wimple piranha fish, Catoprion mento, have a unique curve at their lower jaw giving them a distinct look. The fish have silvery slimy skin on top and are slightly golden in the belly region. When their jaws are closed, the conical teeth in the upper jaw are protruding.

The wimple piranha has the specific name 'mento' because the conical teeth in the upper jaw are protruding when the jaws are closed.

How cute are they?

Wimple piranha fish, Catoprion mento, are predator fish, but due to their small size, they can be kept in an aquarium with adequate water and hiding spots. These fishes have silvery scales and due to their banana curved jaw, they look unique but their lower jaw is covered with sharp teeth which makes them look scary.

How do they communicate?

Catoprion mento may bark, make a grunting sound, or make thudding or drumming sounds to communicate. In order to make such sounds, they use their swim bladder, an organ that most fish have to help them to float in water.

How big is a wimple piranha?

The wimple piranha size can go up to 6 in (15.2 cm) and they can be considered as the smallest breed of piranhas. They are twice as small when compared to the pygocentrus species and surgeonfish.

How fast can a wimple piranha swim?

Depending on the species, wimple piranha, Catoprion mento, can swim at a speed of 15-25 mph (24-40 kph). Their speed depends on the dimensions of their body.

How much does a wimple piranha weigh?

Wimple piranha fish, Catoprion mento, can weigh from 3.3-7.7 lb (1.5-3.5 kg) depending on their length varying from 4.8-6 in (12.2-15.2 cm).

What are the male and female names of the species?

In wimple piranhas (Catoprion mento), there is no way to differentiate their sex by external physical structure until they are mature. In the female fish, when producing eggs, a slight bulge can be seen in their belly but the male fish is slimmer and has a convex anal fin which the females don't. The male and female species can differ, but they do not have any specific names for their sex.  

What would you call a baby wimple piranha?

A baby wimple piranha, Catoprion mento, does not have any specific name. While they are in eggs, they might be eaten by other predators or can also be eaten when hatched from eggs. They become mature within a year and generate defensive techniques.

What do they eat?

Catoprion mento feeds on underwater small fishes, worms, white shrimps, and underlying vegetation within a close range using suction feeding. They also collide with fishes bigger in size to shred off their scales in a collision and feeding on those scales.

Are they dangerous?

Wimple piranhas are no threats to humans except for creating a minor trauma. While, they have a powerful set of teeth that helps them to defend themselves from predators wanting to diet on them. Since they move in schools, they attack the predator together and might inflict serious bites. They are less dangerous compared to pygocentrus species.

Would they make a good pet?

Wimple piranhas would make a good pet if kept in a big aquarium. The wimple piranha tank size must be large enough to hold 27.5 gal (125 l) of water with proper distribution of underwater plantation and should have hiding spots in it. While kept as pets, the aquarium mates would scale quickly and might lose their fins from piranha attacks.

Did you know...

Wimple piranhas, Catoprion mento, have a distinct hearing range from a minimum of 200 Hz to a maximum of 2000 Hz. These fishes can detect the threat incoming from a distinct range and communicate by making barking or drumming sounds to alert their co-species. These fishes have a hearing threshold of 70 dB underwater.

What is the smallest species of piranha?

Traditionally, the wimple piranha is not acknowledged to belong in the true piranha family, as their upper jaw has two rows of teeth which makes them different from the other piranha genes. If considered in the true piranha family, it would become the smallest breed of piranhas in the world, else the small piranhas in the pygocentrus breed would be considered the smallest species.

Does wimple piranha feed on fish scales?

Yes, wimple piranha fish feed on fish scales. They attack fish two to three times bigger in size and brush off their scales which is food for them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our altum angelfish surprising facts and clown triggerfish fun facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable wimple piranha coloring pages.

Wimple Piranha Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Scales of small and large fish, small fishes, worms, insects

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

3.3 lb (1.5 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical freshwater and aquarium.

Where Do They Live?

south america and venezuela.

How Long Were They?

6.5 in (16.5 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Catoprion mento

What Do They Look Like?

Curved lower jaws

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

crocodiles, dolphins, turtles.

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Evaluated
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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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