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F de Castelnau-poissonsPl39.jpg
Hydrolycus scomberoides (lower illustration) and Rhaphiodon vulpinus (upper illustration)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Family: Cynodontidae
Genus: Hydrolycus
Species: H. scomberoides
Binomial name
Hydrolycus scomberoides
(G. Cuvier, 1819)

Payara, Hydrolycus scomberoides, is a type of game fish. It is found abundantly in Venezuela and in the Amazon Basin.


The payara's most noticeable feature is the two long fangs protruding from its lower jaw. These fangs can be 4 to 6 inches long. Parayas grow to be around 3 feet long with an average length of 1.5 ft. The payara's diet mainly consist of smaller fish; they impale other fish with their sharp teeth and consume them. Payaras also share the same habitat with butterfly peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris). In the Amazon River Basin, payaras are restricted to tributaries above the mouth of the Rio Tapajós.

In popular culture[edit]

The payara is featured in the first season of the Animal Planet show River Monsters.