'Testicle-munching' Amazon fish found off Denmark

August 13, 2013
A piranha is seen on September 29, 2010 at an aquarium in Dubai. A Danish fisherman made an unusual find in his nets recently when he discovered a pacu, a sharp-toothed cousin of the South American piranha with a reported penchant for testicles.

A Danish fisherman made an unusual find in his nets recently when he discovered a pacu, a sharp-toothed cousin of the South American piranha with a reported penchant for testicles.

"If they bite, they can bite hard ... especially when they bite you where you really don't want to be bitten," joked fish expert Peter Resk Moeller of the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

However he said that the pacu is not a meat-eater and normally does not attack people.

The rare find has spread across international media, who have jumped on the fish's reputation as a "ball-cutter" for its reported attacks on men.

In a documentary for US channel Animal Planet in 2012, an expert on extreme fishing relayed anecdotally that some fishermen in Papua New Guinea had had their bitten by pacus.

However Moeller defended the toothy vegetarian's .

"The fisherman was very surprised and a bit suspicious because this fish, the pacu, looks so much like a piranha but it is not a ," said

It is not known where the fish came from, but Moeller suggested "it probably came from a local aquarium."

"It's interesting to see that it survived in the Oeresund (Strait that separates Sweden and Denmark). Even if the water is not very salty we didn't know it could survive the salt," he said.

Moeller said it was hard to predict whether the pacu would now become common in Danish waters.

"Every time we have a fish of a new species you think you won't find another one, but you never know."

The fish is however farmed in North America as food.

"I've heard it's very good, I would like to try it," Moeller said.

Explore further: 'Dead or alive' bounty offered for China piranhas

Related Stories

'Dead or alive' bounty offered for China piranhas

July 12, 2012

Authorities in southern China have moved to quash a bizarre piranha threat, offering bounties and free bait amid fears the aggressive South American fish has invaded a river, state media said on Thursday.

Male sex ornaments are fishing lures, literally

July 12, 2012

Talk about a bait-and-switch. Male representatives of the tropical fish known as swordtail characins have flag-like sex ornaments that catch mates just like the bait on a fishing rod would. What's more, a study reported online ...

Danish swimmers escape waters fearing killer fish

August 12, 2013

The capture in the Danish/Swedish strait of Oresund of a fish some twenty centimeters in size and with long sharp teeth has caused Danish swimmers to leave the water fearing an invasion of meat eating killer fish, Piranhas.

Recommended for you

Huddling rats behave as a 'super-organism'

September 3, 2015

Rodents huddle together when it is cold, they separate when it is warm, and at moderate temperatures they cycle between the warm center and the cold edges of the group. In a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology, ...

Fighting explosives pollution with plants

September 3, 2015

Biologists at the University of York have taken an important step in making it possible to clean millions of hectares of land contaminated by explosives.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.