Sunday, July 8, 2012

Maneaters: Carnivorous Fish Found in Illinois Lake

A carnivorous species of fish known for munching on male genitalia has been found in an Illinois lake popular with swimmers and campers.

The exotic fish—complete with a set of human-like chompers—has been identified as a pacu, a species of fish from the South Pacific known as "The Ball Cutter", after a series of attacks caused the deaths of two men from intense blood loss after the fish bit off their testicles.

One of the pacu was discovered in Lake Lou Yaeger in June of this year, while a second fish was discovered only two weeks later. The fish were initially believed to be piranha, but were later identified by the Department of Natural Resources to be pacu. Although related to the piranha, the pacu has wider, sturdier teeth, unlike the piranha's deadly sharp, serrated teeth.

The pacu were more than likely illegally dumped into the lake—thousands of miles away from their native habitat.Originally from the Amazon basin of South America, the species was introduced to Papua New Guinea decades ago in order to increase fish stock. Officials say swimmers and people fishing should not be concerned and should take simple precautions to avoid being bitten by the fish, such as wearing swimming trunks at all time while in the water.

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