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, common name for members of the Characidae, a large and diverse family comprising 700 species of freshwater fishes. The characins are related to the carp and the catfish. They are found in Africa and in tropical America, especially in the Amazon.
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South American carnivorous fish. [Zoology: EB, VIII: 1]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
any of various small freshwater voracious fishes of the genus Serrasalmus and related genera, of tropical America, having strong jaws and sharp teeth: family Characidae (characins)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005