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December 03, 2018

Greetings Infomaniacs,

Gifts 4 GPToday I've got the lowdown for you on piranhas. Did you know that these fish gained a bad rep thanks to former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt? He wrote at length about the piranha's bloodthirsty nature in his travel memoir Through the Brazilian Wilderness.

Learn more about the piranha in today's issue!


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QUOTE: "The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."

HINT: (1862-1960), was an English author, poet and dramatist.


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Piranhas' bad reputation is at least partially Teddy Roosevelt's fault. When he journeyed to South America in 1913, he encountered several different species of piranha, and described them as "ferocious fish" in his bestseller, Through the Brazilian Wilderness.


Today, piranhas inhabit the freshwaters of South America from the Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela up to the Parana River in Argentina. Though estimates vary, around 30 species inhabit the lakes and rivers of South America.


Piranhas attract a certain type of pet lover, and sometimes when the fish gets too large for its aquarium said pet lover decides its much better off in the local lake. In this manner, piranhas have shown up in waterways around the globe from Great Britain to China to Texas.


Piranhas are known for their razor-sharp teeth and relentless bite. True piranhas have tricuspid teeth, with a more pronounced middle cuspid or crown. Piranhas replace teeth in quarters multiple times throughout their lifespan, which reaches up to eight years in captivity.


A typical piranha diet consists of insects, fish, crustaceans, worms, carrion, seeds and other plant material. However, some piranhas are omnivorous, eating more seeds than meat, and some even subsist on plants alone.


Piranhas run in packs for safety, not strength. Traveling in shoals has the effect of protecting the inner fish from attack. Further, shoals tend to have a hierarchy of larger, older fish towards the center and younger fish on the outer edges, suggesting that safety might be the true motivation.

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QUOTE: "The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper."

ANSWER: Eden Phillpotts.