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Red-Bellied Pacu

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Red-bellied pacu
Red-bellied pacu, adults - Photo by U.S. Geological Survey
Scientific Name: 
Piaractus brachypomus (Cuvier, 1817) (ITIS)
Common Name: 
Red-bellied pacu, pirapitinga
Native To: 
South America (Di Santo et al. 2018)
Date of U.S. Introduction: 
Individual specimens have been caught since the 1960s, but no reproducing populations have yet become established in the U.S. (NAS Database)
Means of Introduction: 
Probably through aquarium releases or fish farm escapes (Di Santo et al. 2018)
Environmental impact is unknown (NAS Database)

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

DOIUSGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides detailed collection information as well as animated map.


University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Red-Bellied Pacu.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).
Federal Government

Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Marine Invasions Research Lab.

DOIUSGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).
University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology.