Saturday, 5 December 2009

The ultimate predators; Candiru

The Candiru is a type of catfish commonly found where the Amazon river meets the Rio Negro. Growing only to about 6 inches in length, this creature has a nasty habit.

This predator hunts fish by following trails of urea and ammonia released by their gills. It lies in wait on the river bed, swimming in circles to try and pick up a scent trail. When it finds a trail of urea the Candiru follows it and swims into the gills of its chosen prey.

The tiny candiru has a series of spines, arranged in an umbrella formation around the head. These are used for gripping onto the inside of the gills of the unfortunate fish.

It exposes the bloodstream by shaking its head from side to side. The sharp teeth of the Candiru rasp at the inside of the gills and cause the Candiru's host to bleed. It begins to feed on the blood and soon is swollen like a water balloon.

After feeding the Candiru wriggles out from its victims gill slits and drifts to the bottom to digest its meal. The attacked fish rarely survives such arterial damage and often dies of severe blood loss.

Above; Candiru attacking fishes gills (top), Candiru up human urethra (bottom)

It has caused trouble amongst people who have been foolish enough to urinate when in the river Amazon. The urea and ammonia in our urine is similar to that released by the gills of fish. The Candiru sometimes mistakes human urine for a fishes excrement and swims up the urethra, lodging itself in the bladder and causing extreme pain. Reports have shown that the head spines are extremely effective. As victims try to pull it out the fish spreads the umbrella of hooks and lodges itself firmly up your bits, making it impossible to pull out.

This story used to be an urban myth, until a man having a wiss in the Amazon river had a 6 inch er swimming right up his urine stream and into his manly parts. It stayed in there for several days until a surgeon could get it out.

The main problem with having a Candiru inside you is the fact that the urethra is too small to let a blood swollen Candiru to make a quick getaway as it does with other animals. Therefore it remains swimming around inside you indefinitely.

Another Candiru that is even more terrifying than the piranha is the Candiru asu. This creature is a scavenger and predator that burrows into its prey and feeds on its internal organs. These animals swarm around a food source like a pack of piranhas.

Human bodies have been found floating in the river Amazon with 100 Candiru asu wriggling inside them. People believe that these victims were probably attacked when they were alive, being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of these little predators.

Anyone fancy a swim?

1 comment:

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