Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Candiru Catfish

Latin Name: Vandellia cirrhosa

The Candiru Catfish is perhaps one of the most deadly fishes in the world. They populate the Amazon River in Brazil and are feared by many people. This is not due to their size; on the contrary, most are 2 inches long. However, its small size and its translucency is what makes it dangerous. The Candiru is a deadly parasite with the nickname of "the vampire fish of Brazil". It is a smooth, slimy, eel-like fish with very sharp teeth. It preys on bigger fish by swimming in their gill cavities and latches onto an artery to feed on the blood of its prey. Once inside, it is difficult to take out due to its protruding spines. These catfishes are attracted to urine, which has caused incidents in the past where groups of these parasites had swam right into the penis or the vagina of the humans who were urinating in the river. This causes immense pain to the victims and removing the Candirus from such a tight spot often ends up in surgery.

Vandellia cirrhosa

There is also another type of Candiru Catfish known as the Candiru Asu (Latin name: Cetopsis candiru). This species of Candiru is also a deadly parasite known throughout Brazil. It has circular mouth filled with sharp teeth to bite through the flesh of bigger prey, leaving a wound that looks similar to that of a bullet hole. The Candiru Asu then proceeds to eats the prey from the inside out. Once a few of these Candirus have entered the body, chances of survival are extremely low since these fishes greatly damage internal organs. Human corpses have been discovered in the Amazon River filled with about 100 of these parasites inside. Scientists have concluded that the victims might have been alive or incapacitated when they were attacked.

Cetopsis candiru

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