Vampire Fish: one of the world’s scariest freshwater predators

The Vampire Fish (Hydrolicus armatus), also known as the Payara, is a ferocious predator found in fast flowing freshwater habitats in South America. It can grow up to 1m in length and weigh up to 18kg.

Image by Ng Boon Ping.

5cm long fangs

Despite its name, the Vampire Fish does not suck blood. Instead, it uses its huge fangs on its lower jaws, which can grow up to 5cm long, to impale smaller fishes before swallowing them whole. When its mouth is closed, these fangs fit into conical nasal slots in its upper jaws, which prevent the fish from stabbing itself.

The Vampire Fish is also a visual hunter that uses its large eyes to spot prey. Image by Ng Boon Ping.

Fangs aside, here’s another reason why the Vampire Fish is one of the world’s scariest freshwater: it preys on the Piranha, another widely feared, razor-teethed predator found in South American freshwater habitats.

Strong, fast swimmer and a popular gamefish

The Vampire Fish is sometimes described as a silver missile with an attitude. It attacks prey at high speed and streaks away just as fast. Its strength, stamina and screaming runs make it a strong adversary for anglers, and a popular gamefish.

Image source

Come face-to-face with these fearsome predators at S.E.A. Aquarium. With Spooky Seas happening now till 28 October 2018, there are interactive activities around the aquarium to help everyone, especially the kids, learn more about these amazing fish and other quirky sea creatures. Details here

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