Brycon amazonicus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Characiformes Bryconidae

Scientific Name: Brycon amazonicus (Spix & Agassiz, 1829)
Common Name(s):
Spanish Sábalo, Sábalo Cola Roja
Brycon capito Cope, 1872
Brycon cephalus (Günther, 1869)
Brycon erythropterum (Cope, 1872)
Brycon siebenthalae ssp. iquitensis Nakashima, 1941
Chalceus amazonicus Spix & Agassiz, 1829
Megalobrycon cephalus Günther, 1869
Megalobrycon erythropterum Cope, 1872

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): Reis, R & Lima, F.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Darwall, W., Ram, M. & Smith, K. (SRLI Freshwater Fish Evaluation Workshop)
This species is very abundant and widespread. Although possible over-exploited in parts of its range, B. amazonicus is not threatened overall, especially as aquaculture farms for this species are increasing. A Least Concern assessment has therefore been made.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in western Amazon basin and also in the Rio Orinoco and in the River Essequibo in Guyana.
Countries occurrence:
Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Guyana; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:B. amazonicus is the most widespread and abundant species of matrinxa (common name).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:B. amazonicus is a benthopelagic (ecological region at the lowest level of water body) species that inhabits streams and lakes. The larvae of B. amazonicus are found in the main stem of the Amazon River, and possibly in other high-nutrient tributaries. Juveniles live in the adjacent floodplain, mostly under the floating macrophytes (floating or submerged aquatic plants)). Adults are distributed throughout the floodplains, including the flooded forests of white and black water rivers.

The migration of this species is complex. Near Manaus, B. amazonicus joins multi-species schools and migrates downriver from the Negro River to spawn in the Amazon River in December and January, as water levels there begin to rise. A similar pattern was also observed for Brycon sp. in the Madeira River. The embryos and larvae develop while drifting in the Amazon River, and probably get washed into the white water floodplains. After spawning (February to March) the adult fish return to the black-water tributaries. Later in the year (May to August) these fish move downstream again from the Negro River or other nutrient-poor tributaries into the Amazon or Madeira rivers, where they remain until the end of the wet season in September. At this time, they move upstream again to the next nutrient-poor tributary and into forest streams, where they spend the dry season before the next spawning migration (Araujo-Lima and Ruffino 2004).

Plant material is an important part of the diet of adult Brycon species; and thus these fish play a role in the dispersal of plants whose fruits they eat (Berra 2001).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Brycon amazonicus is an extremely important fishery resource in the Amazonian region and is also considered as one of the main cultivated fish species in Brazil (Wasko et al., 2004). This species is becoming increasingly popular with pay-to-fish outlets because of its sporting characteristics, the taste of its flesh, and the ease with which it can be reared in captivity (Romagosa et al. 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is very important in fisheries in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia. It is also stocked in aquaculture farms in Brazil and Venezuela. It is certainly not a threatened species, even though probably over-exploited in part of its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation measures in place although research is needed into the localised threat of over-exploitation.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:No decline ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.2. Intentional use: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:No decline ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends

♦  Food - human
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Anon. 1981. Cultivo de peces tropicales en Pucallpa. Instituto Veterinario de Investigaciones Tropicales y de Altura, Convenio Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos - Organismo de Desarrollo de Loreto (Ivita-Crior).

Anon. 1999. Fish collection database of the Natural History Museum. Natural History Museum, London (formerly British Museum of Natural History (BMNH)).

Araujo-Lima, C.A.R.M. and Ruffino, M.L. 2004. Migratory Fishes of the Brazilian Amazon. In: Carolsfield, J.; B. Harvey, C. Ross, and A. Baer (eds), Migratory Fishes of South America: Biology, Fisheries and Conservation Status, pp. 380. World Fisheries Trust/World Bank/IDRC.

Baensch, H.A. and Riehl, R. 1991. Aquarien atlas. Band 3. Mergus, Verlag für Natur- und Heimtierkunde GmbH, Germany.

Barriga, R. 1991. Peces de agua dulce del Ecuador. Revista de Informacion tecnico-cientifica, Quito, Ecuador, Politecnica XVI(3): 7-88.

Berra, T. 2001. Freshwater Fish Distribution. Academic Press, San Diego, California.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 1998. Catalogue of fishes. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco.

Espino, M., Castillo, J., Fernandez, F., Menqieta, A., Wosnitza-Mendo, C. and Zevallos, J. 1986. El stock de Merluza y otros demersales en Abril de 1985. Crucero Bic Humboldt (23 Marzo al 05 Abril de 1985). Informe No. 89. Inst. Mar Peru - Callao.

Ferreira, E.J.G., Zuanon, J.A.S. and dos Santos, G.M. 1996. A list of commercial fish species from Santarém, State of Pará, Brazil. Naga ICLARM Q.

Ferreira, E.J.G., Zuanon, J.A.S. and dos Santos, G.M. 1998. Peixes comerciais do médio Amazonas. Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis.

Fowler, H.W. 1950. Os peixes de agua doce do Brazil. Arquivos de Zoologia do Estado de Sao Paolo VI: 20.

Froese, R. and Pauly, D. 2006. FishBase. Available at:

Géry, J. and Mahnert, V. 1992. Notes que quelques Brycon des bassins de l'Amazone du Parana, Paraguay et du sud-est Bresilien (Pisces, Characiformes, Characidae). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 99(4): 743-819.

Hureau, J.-C. 1991. La base de données GICIM: Gestion informatisée des collections ichthyologiques du Muséum. Atlas Préliminaire des Poissons d'Eau Douce de France., pp. 225-227. Conseil Supérieur de la Pêche, Ministère de l'Environnement, CEMAGREF et Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.2). Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2009).

Lima, F.C.T. 2003. Characidae - Bryconinae (Characins, tetras). In: R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. (eds), Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America, pp. 174-181. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS, Brasil.

Moravec, F. 1998. Nematodes of freshwater fishes of the Neotropical region. Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Praha.

Ortega, H. and Vari, R.P. 1986. Annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Peru. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 437: 1-25.

Romagosa, E., Narahara, M.Y., Marques da Silva Ayroza, L., Borella, M.I. and Fenerich-Verani, N. 2000. Reproductive cycle of male Matrinxa, Brycon cephalus (Gunther, 1869) (Teleostei: Characidae). Brazilian Journal of Morphological Sciences 17: 101-105.

Tejerina-Garro, F.L., Fortin, R. and Rodriguez, M.A. 1998. Fish community structure in relation to environmental variation in floodplain lakes of the Araguaia River, Amazon Basin. Environmental Biology of Fishes 51(4): 399-410.

Varjo, M., Koli, L. and Dahlström, H. 2004. Kalannimiluettelo (versio 10/03). Suomen Biologian Seura Vanamo Ry.

Wasko, A.P., Martins, C., Oliveira, C., Senhorini, J.A. and Foresti, F. 2004. Genetic monitoring of the Amazonian fish matrincha (Brycon cephalus) using RAPD markers: insights into supportive breeding and conservation programmes. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 20: 48-52.

Werder, U. 1996. Zur Altersbestimmung an Brycon cephalus Günther 1869 (Teleostei: Characidae). PhD, University of Hamburg, Germany.

Citation: Reis, R & Lima, F. 2009. Brycon amazonicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T167645A6362017. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
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