While in the Amazon, a certain pointy fish that crawls up a certain male organ sends shivers in the spines of potential swimmers, in Scandinavia, another Brazilian fish is threatening the genitals of unsuspecting skinny dippers; it’s not the famed piranha, but its cousin – the Pacu.

pacu

The Pacu naturally has a small mouth, eating nuts, fruit, and small fish, but human testicles are just as tempting – especially if the water is cold. Of course, it’s not normal to get your testicles bitten off, and you’re much more likely to drown then stumble upon a Pacu, but that’s still a possibility – one that pains even when you think about it.

So what is a tropical fish doing in Northern Europe? An amateur fisherman, Einar Lindgreen, found the specimen in the Øresund Sound, a body of water that separates Sweden and Denmark, and took it to the museum in Copenhagen, where the discovery was confirmed. Still, it’s not clear if this was simply a wandering, unlucky specimen, or if we’re dealing with something serious here.

“Discovering whether this fish is a lone wanderer or a new invasive species will be very exciting. And a bit scary. It’s the first time this species has been caught in the wild in Scandinavia,” says Peter Rask Møller, an expert from the museum.

In the past two years, a man in Illinois was bit by a Pacu, and two people in Indonesia had their testicles bitten off entirely. Pet stores sell pacu as small as 5–8 cm, but they can easily weigh over 20 kg.

Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!

Like us on Facebook