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BBC Wales's Colette Hume reports
"For seven years, Peaches and Melba lived together in harmony"
 real 28k

Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 20:06 GMT 21:06 UK
Hungry piranha seeks good catch
Red-bellied piranha
Zoo staff think the piranha was testing her mate
A zoo is appealing for a new mate for a female piranha after the fish devoured her previous one.

Red-bellied piranhas Peaches and Melba had drawn hundreds of visitors to the Anglesey Sea Zoo, in north Wales, and it was hoped they would produce some young.

But the grim discovery was made after staff went to give the pair a morning feed.

The zoo's aquarist, Chris Smith, said: "At first we thought Melba was hiding behind some reeds, but on closer inspection we found Peaches had eaten most of him," said zoo aquarist Chris Smith.

"She had taken huge chunks out of him. They have been together for a few years and did have the occasional fight, but obviously this squabble went too far.

Import restrictions

"Peaches is seven years old and is coming up to a breeding age, so she was probably testing him.

"She is slightly bigger than Melba and he obviously didn't come up to scratch."

The zoo in Brynsiencyn, Anglesey, is searching for a replacement in the UK because of import restrictions.

"The problem is you can't import piranha any more so we are looking throughout the country," Mr Smith added.

"We will probably choose a fish that is slightly bigger than Peaches so she won't eat him."

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