Sep 30, 2007

Beware the Toothpick Fish!

No, seriously. Beware the toothpick fish. Better known as the candiru of the Amazon basin, this nasty little translucent parasite has a worse reputation than the piranha.

The candiru hunts down fish by following the scent of ammonia being exhaled by the fish's gills. Once the candiru has found the ammonia source, it latches on to the flesh and digs its way in until it hits an artery. Then it goes to town with its razor teeth. The host fish is unable to dislodge the candiru due to the umbrella-like array of spines it uses to lodge itself firmly in place. The attack lasts for several minutes before the candiru detaches and goes on its merry way. The host fish rarely survives the attack.

Well, guess what happens when a human pees in the water and there's a candiru lurking nearby? It's a case of horrific mistaken identity. The attack ensues just as outlined above, only the candiru has to dig further into the...nether regions...of the hapless victim to strike gold.

Sleep well tonight. The world can be a very ugly place.

Thanks for the nightmares, Martha. I now have one more reason not to go swimming in the Amazon River.

Photo source: Oregon Piranha Exotic Fish Exhibit


Denita TwoDragons said...

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Anonymous said...

Oh. Oh guh. I am never going to sleep again.

Carol Rose said...

This fish was in an episode of Grey's Anatomy, Season 2 -- honestly, it was! It was horrible and funny all at the same time. I just watched that season on DVD, so I remember it vividly! Rent Season 2, and see for yourself!

darwinoid said...

There aren't actually many case of this happening, in fact at best, there appears to only be one case. See here.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Wow! So The Monarch wasn't kidding!

pkeli said...

Ok, R. Wombat, you've hit gold here. This is horrible. I'll never pee while swimming anywhere again, even if it's half a world away from the Amazon River....

booge said...

As a person with a urethra, I am very much against this fish.

Arachnophile said...

LOL - you guys slay-me.

I have to admit that I've never heard the... uhm... 'back-door' version of this story.

Anonymous said...

Tranlation w/pics of a "urologistas" experience with one

Nonexistant Black Feather said...

yeah, I heard of this on Grey's Anatomy, too. Nasty little ammonia-seeking bugger.

Anonymous said...

allways wear protection