Notorious ‘vampire’ catfish which crave blood and can swim up a man’s URETHRA travel through the Amazon river by using larger host fish as ‘water taxis’, study finds

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  • A new study suggests vampire fish attach themselves to a larger host to navigate the tough waters of the Amazon River
  • In April 2019, researchers observed several-inch-long Paracanthomas attached to the sides of spiny catfish
  • He was surveying and collecting fish species in the Rio Negro when he made his discovery.
  • It is not clear why Candiru attaches itself, but it may be for security or a phoretic association.
  • Some species of candiru eat their host’s scales, mucus, and flesh.

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The vampire fish or candiru has been known to be parasitic, sucking the blood of larger fish and, in an unusual case, swimming in a person’s urethra.

However, a new study shows that this species of catfish depends on a larger host to traverse the hard waters of the Amazon River.

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While conducting research in April 2019, Chiara Lubich, an ichthyologist at the Federal University of Amazonas, observed that Paracanthopoma species had several-inch-long candiru that were attached to the sides of spiny catfish (Dorus flyzacian).

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A new study suggests that the vampire fish, or candiru, leans toward a larger host to traverse the hard waters of the Amazon River

While conducting research in April 2019, ichthyologist Chiara Lubich noticed that Paracanthropoma (inset) had several-inch-long candiru that were attached to the sides of spiny catfish.

While conducting research in April 2019, ichthyologist Chiara Lubich noticed that Paracanthropoma (inset) had several-inch-long candiru that were attached to the sides of spiny catfish.

All together, Lubich and other researchers found nine spiny catfish, with a combined dozen candiru clinging to their sides.

‘Clearly, [the candiru] Join and travel with hosts for reasons other than food,’ Lubich said in an interview gizmodoThe one who first reported the news.

Some species of candiru have been observed with their heads in their host’s abdomen, Gizmodo said.

Other species eat their host’s scales, mucus, and some of their flesh, hence the name of their vampire fish.

The researchers surveyed and collected fish species in the Rio Negro, a major tributary of the Amazon, during their discovery.

The researchers surveyed and collected fish species in the Rio Negro, a major tributary of the Amazon, during their discovery.

The researchers surveyed and collected fish species in the Rio Negro, a major tributary of the Amazon, during their discovery.

Candiru, which can reach up to 16 inches in length in some species, are usually see-through, making them difficult for predators to see.

It is unclear at this time why Candiru associates itself with spiny catfish; It is possible that this could be ‘in the form of conservation or a phoretic association’, the researchers write in the study’s abstract.

‘This seems to me to be a plausible explanation,’ Larry Page, an ichthyologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History who was not involved in the research, said of the idea that the candiru are using the larger fish as taxis.

‘But it looks like they’re using the bigger fish to cover longer distances, or maybe they’re doing both: feeding and riding.’

The fact that Paracanthropoma was found to attach to fish without any material in the abdomen (such as blood, skin, flesh or mucus) indicates that the relationship between the parasite and the host ‘may be more complex than previously thought’. Is.’

“I believe a lot remains to be known about this relationship, not only with spiny catfish, but also with vampire fish and other species that we haven’t encountered yet,” Lubich told Gizmodo. and which have not been reported.

study was published earlier this month in the journal Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria.

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