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Hydrolycus armatus bones
fish venezuela fish

To see the live pictures and video of the Hydrolycus armatus click here.

Hydrolycus armatus commonly called Payara or the freshwater vampire fish is one of the biggest tetras on earth. They live on the main canals of large deep rivers such as the Orinoco and Caroni river basins. They can grow past 3 feet in length and their lower fangs more than two inches long. Behind the base of all its teeth or fangs lay replacement ones, if a tooth is lost, it is quickly replaced with a new one.

BELOW: Detail of the skeleton structure of a Hydrolycus armatus.

payara bones

Although Hydrolycus armatus are very vicious looking, they are no threat to humans in the wild, they are actually fished and eaten, fried, grilled, or in a stew with great satisfaction by the locals.


Hydrolycus armatus form large schools of many thousands of individuals in the breeding season as they migrate upriver to reproduce. Once the breeding season is over, they swim down river to spend the rest of the year.

Hydrolycus armatus bones


Hydrolycus armatus meat deteriorates very quickly after it has died compared to other fish. The specimen I used to get the bones from for these pictures was given to me in a not very fresh state. In the process of taking the meat off the bones I accidentally pinched my thumb with one of the hundreds of spines. After 4 hours, my thumb was swollen to double its size and I had to take strong antibiotics for many days for the infection to go away.

Hydrolycus armatus bones

 

payara bones

payara teeth

fish venezuela fish

 

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