The Payara, also referred ‌to​ as‍ the ‘Vampire ‌Fish’, is an intriguing species known for its ⁤fierce demeanor and‌ unique physical characteristics. The species’ scientific name, ‘Hydrolycus Scomberoides’, categorizes it within the Cynodontidae family.

Conservation Status

While not listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Payara’s⁤ population is believed​ to be ‌decreasing, likely due to overfishing and habitat destruction. Conservation efforts for this species primarily focus on promoting sustainable fishing practices and protecting their⁢ native habitats.


Statistic Average Range
Length 1.2 Meters 0.9 – 1.5 Meters
Weight 17 Kg 10 – 25 ​Kg
Average Lifespan 6-8 Years


Payaras are primarily found in the rivers‌ and basins of South⁣ America, including the ⁤Amazon, Orinoco, and Parana Rivers. There is no noted migratory pattern⁣ for‌ this species as⁢ it ⁣usually remains within the‍ same water body throughout its‍ lifespan.


The Payara tends to inhabit freshwater environments such as rivers and basins as mentioned earlier. They prefer depths that​ offer plenty of cover⁣ from predators ‌and can dwell both in colder, deep waters, and warmer, shallow areas depending on their food source.

When and Where to See

The best time to observe these fascinating creatures is during the⁢ summer months when they are most‌ active. Dawn or dusk affords the best opportunity to spot them as they are most actively feeding during these periods.

Best ⁢Fishing Locations

Some of the ‌best locations for fishing Payaras include:

  • Amazon River, Brazil
  • Orinoco River, ‍Venezuela
  • Parana River, Argentina
  • São Francisco River, Brazil
  • Tocantins River, Brazil

To find a Payara, remember that they inhabit areas with lots of cover.

How to Catch

Payaras ​are powerful fighters and catching them demands the use of⁤ heavy tackle. Lures that imitate native baitfish are most effective. Bottom fishing is also recommended as Payaras⁢ tend to hunt closer to the bottom.

Identification Guide

What sets the Payara‍ apart from similar species is their two long, sharp fangs protruding from the lower jaw, reaching‌ up to 15‍ cm in length. Other identifying characteristics include a silver-grey body, a ​deeply forked tail, and a small dorsal ⁤fin.


While not‌ a widely consumed species, the⁣ Payara can be cooked‌ in a variety of ways like being ‍grilled or ⁢fried. The ‍fish has a ⁣delicate taste and a low-fat content, leading to a lighter⁢ flavor profile.

Additional​ Information

The Payara are primarily piscivorous, preying‍ on‍ other fish. Their elongated, intimidating teeth are ​used to impale their prey. Human activities such as damming rivers are ⁢a significant threat to their habitat.

References and Further Reading

For more information, consider exploring:

  • Planet of⁣ the ⁤Vampire Fish – Jeremy Wade
  • Incredible Creatures: Payara – (Brady Barr)
  • FishBase: Payara ⁣- (Rainboth, 1996)

Each of these sources offer more comprehensive views on ​these captivating creatures.