'Testicle-munching' Amazon fish found off Denmark

Aug 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: Whale huddle braces for clash over Japanese hunting

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Danish swimmers escape waters fearing killer fish

Aug 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 ...

High rate of early delirium after surgery in older adults

Jul 24, 2013

Close to half of older adults undergoing surgery with general anesthesia are found to have delirium in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU), according to a study in the August issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journa ...

'Dead or alive' bounty offered for China piranhas

Jul 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

Jul 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 ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama

6 hours ago

Human skin and gut microbes influence processes from digestion to disease resistance. Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known about ...

How are hybridized species affecting wildlife?

10 hours ago

Researchers who transplanted combinations of wild, domesticated, and domesticated-wild hybridized populations of a fish species to new environments found that within 5 to 11 generations, selection could remove ...

Japan's whale hunt under scrutiny at IWC meeting

11 hours ago

Japan's intention to resume whale hunts in the Antarctic—despite a ruling by the top U.N. court—topped the agenda as an international whaling conference opened Monday in Slovenia's Adriatic Sea resort ...

User comments : 0