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Down arrow Cat-eLog Data Sheet
Scientific Name Vandellia cirrhosa  Valenciennes, 1846
Common Names Candiru
Almindelig Snyltemalle (Denmark)
Type Locality Probably from America [= South America].
Synonym(s) Plectrochilus erythrurus, Urinophilus erythrurus, Vandellia gigantea
Pronunciation sir hoe sah
Etymology Vandellia: Named after M Vandelli. 
Down arrow Species Information
Size 170mm or 6.7" SL. Find near, nearer or same sized spp.
Identification Transparent to yellowish body, fleshy dorsal fin without strong spine.
General Remarks The fish of this genus are the true vampire-style parasites of the otherwise ill-named parasitic catfish family. In nature they sense the passing of larger fish by the dissolved waste in the water streaming out of their gills. This attracts the parasite to the gill cavity where it feeds, dropping off to lie on the substrate when sated and visibily full to bursting with blood. Legends abound and surround this fish as it can mistake the urination of partially submerged mammals (including humans) for the exhalent gills of fishes and enter the urogenital openings of the very unfortunate mammal.

A fascinating piece of trivia is that this fish is often referred to as the only vertebrate parasite of man.
Down arrow Habitat Information
Distribution South America: Amazon River basin.
Amazon (click on these areas to find other species found there)
Orinoco (click on these areas to find other species found there)

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IUCN Red List Category Not Evaluated
pH 6.0 - 7.0
Down arrow Husbandry Information
Feeding Despite recorded attempts to feed this fish chopped fish gills, blood (via a dropper) and conventional foods, it appears this fish is specialised to the point that it can only feed from live fish.
Furniture Doesn't appear to like bright conditions, so floating plants should be offered. When not actively swimming around in search of its next victim, the fish will rest on the bottom, particularly after feeding.
Compatibility For obvious reasons this fish should be kept alone; smaller fish are not ignored by this fish and can be killed outright by one parasitic visitation.
Suggested Tankmates Food and other Vandellia.
Breeding Unreported.
Breeding Reports There is no breeding report.
Down arrow Further Information
Reference Histoire naturelle des poissons v. 18, pp 386, Pl. 547.
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Last Update 2020 Sep 17 11:51 (species record created: 2003 Jun 28 00:00)