Hematophagous candirus (family Trichomycteridae Vandellia cf. plazaii) did not respond to potential chemical attractants (ammonia amino acids fresh fish slime and human urine) added to their aquarium water. They seemed to respond visually to live goldfish Carassius auratus and Amazonian cichlids Cichlasoma amazonarum. One hypothesis tested is that the goldfish (an ostariophysan) might be preferred to the cichlid (a perciform fish). Goldfish were attacked first significantly more often when both prey species were present (one-sided difference in proportions test, N = 15, p = 0.02). However neither the elapsed time to the first attack nor the duration of the attacks differed significantly (Mann-Whitney's U-test N = 32 p = 0.27 and p = 0.92). These two species seemed incapable (goldfish) or weakly capable (cichlid) of avoiding or repelling candiru attacks
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Armbrust, W. 1971. Schmerlenwelse. Aquarien Terrarien 24(3): 82–84.
Baskin, J.N. 1973. Structure and relationships of the Trichomycteridae. Ph.D. Dissertation, City University of New York, New York. 389 pp.
Baskin, J.N., T.M. Zaret & F. Mago-Leccia. 1980. Feeding of reportedly parasitic catfishes (Trichomycteridae and Cetopsidae) in the Rio Portuguesa Basin, Venezuela. Biotropica 12: 182–186.
Burgess, W.E. 1989. An atlas of freshwater and marine catfishes: a preliminary survey of the Siluriformes. TFH Publications, Neptune City. 784 pp.
Caprio, J. 1975. High sensitivity of catfish taste receptors to amino acids. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 52A: 247–251.
Caprio, J., G. Brand, J.H. Teeter, T. Valentincic, D.L. Kalinoski, J. Kohbara, T. Kumazawa & S. Wegert. 1993. The taste system of the channel catfish: from biophysics to behavior. Trends Neurosci. 16: 192–197.
Eigenmann, C.H. 1918. The Pygidiidae. Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci. 1917: 59–66.
Eigenmann, C.H. & W.R. Allen. 1942. Fishes of western South America. University of Kentucky, Lexington. 494 pp.
Gudger, E.W. 1930a. On the alleged penetration of the human urethra by an Amazonian catfish called candiru, with a review of the allied habits of other members of the family Pygidiidae. Part I. Am. J. Sur. (N. S.) 8: 170–188.
Gudger, E.W. 1930b. On the alleged penetration of the human urethra by an Amazonian catfish called candiru, with a review of the allied habits of other members of the family Pygidiidae. Part. II. Am. J. Sur. (N. S.) 8: 443–457.
Hara, T.J. 1994. The diversity of chemical stimulation in fish olfaction and gustation. Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 4: 1–35.
Helfman, G.S., B.B. Collette & D.E. Facey. 1997. The diversity of fishes. Blackwell Science, Malden. 528 pp.
Johnsen, P.B., H. Zhou & M.A. Adams. 1988. Olfactory sensitivity of the herbivorous grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella, to amino acids. J. Fish Biol. 33: 127–134.
Jones, K.A. & T.J. Hara. 1985. Behavioural responses of fishes to chemical cues: results from a new bioassay. J. Fish Biol. 27: 492–504.
Kelley, W.E. & J.W. Atz. 1964. A pygidiid catfish that can suck blood from goldfish. Copeia 1964: 702–704.
Leung, K.M.Y., J.C.W. Chu & R.S.S. Wu. 1999. Effects of body weight, water temperature and ration size on ammonia excretion by the areolated grouper (Epinephelus areolatus) and mangrove snapper (Lutjanus argentimaculatus). Aquaculture 170: 215–227.
Lüling, K.H. 1965. Jagd auf Fischriesen und Fischzwerge. Aquarien Terrarien 12(5): 154–161.
Lüling, K.H. 1969. Seltsame Fischwelt in Amazonien. Natur und Museum 99: 571–579.
Machado, F.A. & I. Sazima. 1983. Comportamento alimentar do peixe hemató fago Branchioica bertonii (Siluriformes, Trichomycteridae). Cienc. Cult. 35: 344–348.
Marui, T., Y. Kasahara, J.S. Kanwal, J. Caprio & S. Kiyohara. 1987. Neural connections of the facial and vagal lobes in the Japanese sea catfish, Plotosus anguillaris. pp. 446–467. In: S.D. Roper & J. Atema (ed.) Olfaction and Taste IX, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 510, New York Academy of Sciences, New York.
Mommsen, T.P. & P.J. Walsh. 1992. Biochemical and environmental perspectives on nitrogen metabolism in fishes. Experientia 48: 583–593.
Munz, W.R.A. 1982. Visual adaptations to different light environments in Amazonian fishes. Rev. Can. Biol. Exp. 41: 33–46.
Myers, G.S. 1927. Descriptions of new South American freshwater fishes collected by Dr. Carl Ternetz. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zoöl. 68: 106–135.
Norman, J.R. & P.H. Greenwood. 1975. A history of fishes, 3rd edition. Ernest Benn, London. 467 pp.
Roberts, T.R. 1972. Ecology of fishes in the Amazon and Congo basins. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 143: 117–147.
Santos, E. 1954. Peixes da água doce (vida e costumes dos peixes do Brasil). F. Briguiet & Cia., Rio de Janeiro. 267 pp.
Schmidt, R.E. 1993. Relationships and notes on the biology of Paracanthopoma parva (Pisces: Trichomycteridae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 4: 185–191.
Travolga, W.N. 1956. Visual, chemical and sound stimuli as cues in the sex discriminatory behavior of the gobiid fish Bathygobius soporator. Zoologica (N. Y.) 41: 49–64.
Wilkie, M.P. 1997. Mechanisms of ammonia excretion across fish gills. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 118A: 39–50.
About this article
Cite this article
Spotte, S., Petry, P. & Zuanon, J.A. Experiments on the Feeding Behavior of the Hematophagous Candiru, Vandellia cf. Plazaii. Environmental Biology of Fishes 60, 459–464 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1011081027565
- chemical attractants
- visual response