In a paper published in the journal Ecologica Montenegrina on 7 October 2016, Vasil Kostov from Institute of Animal Science (Skopje, Macedonia) and his colleagues from Institute of Biology, Faculty of Natural Science and Mathematics (Skopje, Macedonia), reported the first record of the occurrence of the exotic red bellied piranha, in Dojran Lake, the southern part of Republic of Macedonia. The morphological taxonomy revealed that the specimen is Pygocentrus nattereri Kner, 1860.
The authors questioned possibility that this aquarium species can breed in Dojran Lake and establish a viable population, knowing the fact that lake has a mean annual temperature of 14.2 ºC, with minimal temperature of 3.6 ºC in January and maximal 24.7 ºC for 120 days of the year. “Being an eutrophic lake surely means a substantiate food source for this fish especially during the summer period” the authors explained.
“Despite the open speculations about the reasons of why someone introduced this species in Dojran Lake, and the questions of when and how many samples there might be, serious analyses need to be conducted regarding the biology and population in this environment”, they concluded.