- First of all, Pacu serves as the collective name for any of several related species of carnivorous freshwater fish. 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. The amazing Pacu also remains renowned for its extraordinarily unique teeth.
- Unlike its genetic relative, the piranha, its teeth develop as rather square and flat. In fact, in a bizarre twist of evolution, these strongly resemble those evolved by human beings.
- The terrifying looking fish also 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.
- Furthermore, despite its rather terrifying appearance, the Pacu poses no threat to humans. This occurs, not due to its size or dentition, but due to the specific nature of its dietary habits.
Pacu Physical Description
Most notably, in general terms, the Pacu basically resembles its cousin, the smaller piranha. That is, of course, except for the rather astonishing dentition and sheer size. These factors clearly set it apart from any related species.
Firstly, the remarkable Pacu commonly attains a comparatively enormous length. That’s because the animal reaches lengths of as much as 3 ft (0.9 m). In addition, its weight sometimes reaches as much as 55 lb (25 kg).
Secondly, as the common name applies to several different species, coloring understandably varies between the species. However, colors such as gray, silver, red, and black most commonly predominate.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Characiformes
- Family: Serrasalmidae
Pacu Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Perhaps most importantly, the Pacu thrives in the majority of streams and rivers in South America. Most individuals live in the Orinoco Basin and the Amazon Basin. There, it also comprises a portion of the highly diverse fauna.
The Pacu also appears to be quite popular in large aquariums. This led to a potentially serious environmental hazard, however. When it outgrows its tanks, many individuals simply dump it into the local waterways. Given its voraciousness, it often becomes highly invasive.
Due to this dumping, 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 fearsome appearance, the creature primarily feeds on a wide variety of plant material, and not on animal flesh. In its native territory range, the Pacu remains commonly farmed and fished.