The Mysterious and Infamous Candiru: A Parasitic Bloodsucking Fish of the Amazon Basin

In the murky and mysterious waters of the Amazon Basin lies a tiny, translucent fish with a fearsome reputation. This fish, known as the Candiru, is often referred to as the "vampire fish" due to its parasitic feeding habits. With a scientific name of Vandellia cirrhosa, this infamous creature has captured the curiosity and fear of many.

But what is the Candiru? Where is it found? What are its feeding habits? We will delve into the world of this elusive fish and uncover the truth behind its notorious reputation Candiru.

Appearance and Habitat

The Candiru, commonly known as the "toothpick fish," is found in freshwater rivers and streams of the Amazon Basin, primarily in Brazil. Despite its tiny size, reaching a maximum length of only 16 cm, this fish is known for its unique and eel-like body shape. Its coloration is also quite distinctive, as it is translucent, making it difficult to spot in the murky waters of its habitat.

The Candiru is a master of camouflage, able to hide among the rocks and vegetation of the riverbed. This ability to blend in with its surroundings makes it a formidable predator, as well as a challenging species to study and observe in its natural environment.

Feeding Habits

The most infamous and well-known characteristic of the Candiru is its parasitic feeding behavior. This fish is a parasitic bloodsucker, preying on larger fish in the river. It has a unique and gruesome method of feeding, which has earned it the reputation as a "vampire fish."

The Candiru has the ability to swim up the gills of larger fish, such as catfish, and attach itself to the blood vessels Combtail Gourami. It then feeds on the blood and tissue of the host fish, causing significant damage and potentially leading to death. This parasitic relationship has caused much fear and fascination among those who have encountered this elusive creature.

Despite its reputation, the Candiru does not pose a threat to humans. There have been rare cases of the fish swimming up the urethra of unsuspecting swimmers, but these incidents are highly improbable and often considered to be urban legends.

Reproduction and Behavior

Little is known about the reproduction and behavior of the Candiru due to its elusive nature and challenging habitat. However, it is known that they reproduce sexually through external fertilization, where the female lays her eggs, and the male fertilizes them externally.

It is also believed that the Candiru is a non-migratory species, remaining in the same area of the river for its entire life. This behavior is not uncommon for fish found in the Amazon Basin, as the ever-changing and challenging environment makes migration impractical.

The Truth Behind the Myths

Despite its infamous reputation, there are many myths and urban legends surrounding the Candiru. These stories often depict the fish as a deadly and aggressive predator that poses a significant threat to humans.

However, the truth is far less dramatic. While the Candiru does have a parasitic nature, it primarily preys on other fish and does not actively seek out humans as hosts. Its small size and elusive behavior also make encounters with humans highly unlikely.

In fact, there is much debate and speculation among scientists and researchers about the actual threat the Candiru poses to humans. Some even argue that the urban legends surrounding this fish are exaggerated and largely unfounded.

The Importance of the Candiru

Despite its fearsome reputation, the Candiru plays a vital role in the Amazon Basin ecosystem. As a parasitic bloodsucker, it helps to control the population of other fish, keeping the delicate balance of the river in check.

Additionally, the Candiru is considered a delicacy in some cultures, with its consumption believed to have medicinal qualities. However, due to its elusive nature and challenging habitat, it is not a common food source.

The Fascinating and Enigmatic Candiru

The Candiru may have a fearsome reputation, but it is a creature shrouded in mystery and intrigue. With its elusiveness and unique behaviors, it has captured the fascination and fear of many.

Despite its small size, the Candiru has made a significant impact on the Amazon Basin ecosystem and continues to challenge our understanding of this complex and diverse environment. While much about this tiny fish remains unknown, one thing is for sure – the Candiru is a fascinating and enigmatic creature of the Amazon.



Fish Details Candiru - Scientific Name: Vandellia cirrhosa

  • Category: Fish C
  • Scientific Name: Vandellia cirrhosa
  • Common Name: Candiru
  • Habitat: Freshwater rivers and streams
  • Feeding Habitat: Parasitic
  • Feeding Method: Bloodsucking
  • Geographic Distribution: Amazon Basin
  • Country Of Origin: Brazil
  • Color: Translucent
  • Body Shape: Eel-shaped
  • Length: Up to 16 cm
  • Adult Size: Up to 16 cm
  • Age: Unknown
  • Reproduction: Sexual
  • Reproduction Behavior: External fertilization
  • Migration Pattern: Non-migratory



  • Social Group: Solitary
  • Behavior: Parasitic
  • Diet: Blood of other fish
  • Predators: Unknown
  • Prey: Blood of other fish
  • Environmental Threats: Unknown
  • Conservation Status: Not evaluated
  • Special Features: Has sharp spines and a pointy head to anchor itself in the gills of other fish
  • Interesting Facts: Known as the vampire fish because of its feeding habits
  • Reproduction Period: Unknown
  • Nesting Habit: Unknown
  • Lifespan: Unknown
  • Habitat Threats: Unknown
  • Population Trends: Unknown
  • Habitats Affected: Freshwater rivers and streams

The Mysterious and Infamous Candiru: A Parasitic Bloodsucking Fish of the Amazon Basin

Vandellia cirrhosa

The Mysterious and Elusive Parasitic Fish: Candiru

Deep in the murky waters of the Amazon river, there lurks a creature that has both fascinated and terrified humans for centuries. This tiny fish, known as the Candiru, has earned a notorious reputation for its parasitic behavior and is often referred to as the "vampire fish" due to its feeding habits.

Despite its notoriety, there is still much that remains unknown about the Candiru. It is a solitary creature, making it difficult to study and track Its elusive nature has also led to various myths and misconceptions surrounding this enigmatic fish. In this article, we will uncover the unique features and behavior of the Candiru and explore its impact on the environment.

Origins and Distribution

The Candiru, also known as Vandellia cirrhosa, is a species of parasitic freshwater catfish native to the Amazon river basin in South America. It is primarily found in the rivers and streams of Brazil, Peru, and Colombia. However, due to its elusive nature, its exact distribution and population trends are still unknown.

Solitary Social Group and Elusive Behavior

One of the most intriguing features of the Candiru is its solitary social group. Unlike most fish, it prefers to live and hunt alone. This makes it a challenging species to track and study, as they are rarely seen in groups.

Additionally, the Candiru is also an elusive and fast-moving fish, making it difficult to catch or observe in its natural habitat Catla. Their behavior is highly adapted to their parasitic lifestyle, making them masters of survival in the murky waters of the Amazon.

Parasitic Behavior and Feeding Habits

The parasitic behavior of the Candiru is what has earned it a notorious reputation. This fish is known to parasitize the gills of other fish, using its sharp spines and pointy head to anchor itself in place. It then feeds on the blood of its host fish, earning the nickname "vampire fish."

According to some accounts, the Candiru not only targets fish but also humans. There have been reports of people swimming in the Amazon river and being attacked by the Candiru, which enters through openings such as the urethra. These incidents, however, are rare and may be due to confusion with another species of parasitic fish.

Diet and Prey

As mentioned earlier, the Candiru primarily feeds on the blood of other fish. It uses its sharp teeth to create a small hole in the gills of its host, causing minimal damage but enough to feed on its blood. It is a highly specialized fish, with a unique digestive system that allows it to absorb nutrients efficiently from the blood of its prey.

Interestingly, there is not much known about the prey of the Candiru. As a parasitic fish, it is possible that its primary prey is the blood of other fish. However, there have been reports of Candiru being found in the digestive tracts of large predators such as piranhas, suggesting that they may also feed on the flesh of other fish.

Special Features and Adaptations

The Candiru has several unique features that help it survive in the harsh environment of the Amazon river. Its body is slim and elongated, allowing it to easily navigate through the water and find its host fish. It also has a transparent skin, which makes it difficult to spot in the murky water, providing it with an advantage when hunting.

One of the most remarkable features of the Candiru is its sharp spines and pointy head, allowing it to anchor itself in the gills of its host. These spines serve as a defense mechanism, making it difficult for the host fish to dislodge the Candiru.

Mysterious Reproduction and Nesting Habits

The reproductive behavior of the Candiru remains a mystery. The exact period of reproduction and nesting habits are still unknown, as these fish are notoriously difficult to track and study. It is believed that they reproduce through external fertilization, where the female releases eggs and the male fertilizes them.

In terms of nesting habits, it is thought that the Candiru lays its eggs in crevices or other sheltered areas, similar to other catfish species. However, this is still speculation, and further research is needed to confirm their nesting habits.

Threats to the Environment and Conservation Status

The Candiru has been listed as "Not Evaluated" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is due to the lack of data on its population trends and distribution. It is generally not considered a significant threat to the environment, although there have been concerns about its potential impact on fish populations and human health.

A recent study has also highlighted the potential threat of climate change on the Candiru. As water temperatures rise, the parasite responsible for causing anemia in fish, which is also the primary food source for the Candiru, may increase in number. This could lead to an increase in Candiru population, which in turn could have a negative impact on fish populations in the Amazon river.


The Candiru is a mysterious and elusive creature that continues to fascinate and intrigue scientists and the general public alike. Its parasitic behavior and unique features have earned it a notorious reputation, but there is still much to learn about this enigmatic fish.

As we continue to explore and understand the complexities of the Amazon river, it is essential to ensure the conservation of all its inhabitants. The Candiru may be a strange and mysterious fish, but it plays a vital role in the delicate ecosystem of the Amazon, and it is our responsibility to protect it for future generations to come.

Vandellia cirrhosa

The Mysterious and Infamous Candiru: A Parasitic Bloodsucking Fish of the Amazon Basin

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