A viral video depicting a vicious feeding frenzy in a Brazilian river doesn’t show a group of piranhas, one expert asserts, but instead another species of carnivorous fish that is still the stuff of nightmares.
Few details are available about the origin of the video, which was posted on YouTube by Joao Antonio Cruz Junior, according to National Geographic. The clip shows a dock in a Brazilian river, where several boats are tied up. A person off camera throws a piece of meat casually into the water, igniting an immediate and violent reaction from a multitude of carnivorous fish. Fighting brutally over whatever scraps of food they can find, the fish only settle down when the offering is devoured. The video seems to compile several different feeding events, as at least one edit is visible.
— neatorama (@neatorama) March 21, 2015
Although the clip is titled “Feeding Piranhas in a River in Brazil,” one expert asserts that the carnivorous fish are actually another species. As the Huffington Post reports, John Lundberg, Ph.D, Curator Emeritus of Ichthyology at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, described in an email that the vicious fish are most likely a species of catfish, not piranhas.
“My best guess… is almost certainly catfish,” he noted.
Cautioning that definitive identification could only be made with a clearer image than is available in the video, Lundberg asserted that the catfish in question could be “of the family Pimelodidae and possibly of the genera Pinirampus, Calophysus, or Pimelodus.”
Though piranhas are one of the most well known carnivorous fish, Brazil’s waterways are replete with other deadly species, not the least of which are catfish. A multitude of carnivorous fish populate rivers in the region, each exhibiting different levels of aggression. If the fish in the video were regularly fed by people, congregating in large numbers, their behavior could change to become more aggressive, according to Zeb Hogan, a professor of biology at the University of Nevada, Reno.
— Johns Hopkins CTY (@CTYJohnsHopkins) March 19, 2015
Earlier this week, a new species of South American catfish was identified, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Researchers noted that the fish bore a striking resemblance to a character from Star Wars, prompting them to name the catfish in honor of the bounty hunter, Greedo.
Describing the catfish feeding depicted in the video, Lundberg went on to note that a person would likely find a finger bitten if it were waywardly placed in the river during the frenzy, though not badly. A person falling into the Brazilian river during the feeding frenzy, however, would likely suffer far graver injury from the carnivorous fish.
[Image: YouTube/Joao Antonio Cruz Junior via Twitter]