- First of all, the short term of Pacu serves as the collective name for any of several related species of carnivorous freshwater fish. To no great surprise, these astonishing looking creatures also bear a close relationship to the piranha.
- However, the primary physical differences between the two appear in dentition and physical size. In addition, the members of this equally amazing group also remain renowned for the extraordinarily unique teeth they possess.
- Nevertheless, unlike its genetic relative, the piranha, the teeth of the Pacu develop a most distinctive shape. That’s because these develop as square and flat. In fact, in a bizarre twist of evolution, these strongly resemble those evolved by human beings.
- Furthermore, the terrifying looking fish also distinguishes itself in another way. It grows to a much greater size than its much smaller cousin the piranha. Unfortunately for the completely benign species, its size makes it far more dangerous-seeming than it actually is.
- Additionally, despite its rather terrifying form, the Pacu actually poses no danger to humans. This occurs, not because of its size or dentition, but due to the specific nature of its dietary habits. Sadly, its numbers appear to be diminishing.
Pacu Physical Description
In purely general terms, the various forms of the Pacu basically resemble their cousin, the smaller piranha. That is, except for the completely astonishing dentition and sheer physical size. These factors clearly set these creatures apart from any related species.
Firstly, the remarkable fish commonly attains a comparatively large length. In point of fact, the impressive animal reaches lengths measuring as much as 3 ft (0.9 m). It also achieves great mass. That holds true given the fact that its weight sometimes reaches as much as 55 lb (25 kg).
Secondly, since the common name of Pacu applies to different species, coloring varies between them. But, a few shades appear to dominate. These include colors such as gray, silver, red, and black. The reason these most commonly predominate remains unknown.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Characiformes
- Family: Serrasalmidae
Pacu Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The various types of Pacu thrive in the majority of streams and rivers in South America. Yet, the majority of species and individuals live in the Orinoco Basin and the Amazon Basin. There, the group of species also comprises a respectable portion of the highly diverse fauna.
The collection of fish species also appears to be popular in large aquariums. This leads to a serious environmental hazard, however. When it outgrows its tanks, many individuals simply dump the fish into the local waterways. Given its voraciousness, it often becomes highly invasive.
Due to this dumping, an extreme artificial spreading of the Pacu has occurred. Individual specimens have been caught in the wild in truly diverse locations. These even include such places as Scandinavia, Sweden, and even in the river Seine, in Paris, on August 30, 2013.
Despite its truly fearsome appearance, the Pacu poses no appreciable threat to humans. The animal feeds on a wide variety of plant material, and not on animal flesh. In its native territory range, members of this group of fish continue to be commonly farmed and fished.