Re: NANFA-- extreme collecting II

Scott Davis (
Sun, 15 Dec 2002 06:25:33 -0600

> Or the piranha feeding frenzy where the local fishermen dump their scraps?

(Years ago) Did you see the section of a Jacques Cousteau PBS documentary on
the Amazon where they dump some meat in the water? There is a guy in the
water video taping the very enthusiastic feeding binge of the piranhas! One
can see the piranhas tearing chunks from the carcass hung in the water. They
were very sloppy eaters. Among the piranhas were all sorts of smaller tetras
darting in and out picking off the scraps!. I really hoped the guy would
tilt his camera to the substrate. I'll bet there were Corys having a field
day too.

About the same time they were showing a National Geographic documentary. I
was ashamed of them. There they were repeating the same old ambush a cow
stories. (Each fish was probably humming "You deserve a break today")

I made some comment about this to someone who has collected some of those
areas while we were at a killie event (probably Jim Thomerson). He responded
that yes, one had to be careful around piranhas, but mostly they were
dangerous in the dry season when stranded in a pool where they were indeed
starving and became panicked when cornered.

He noted that Native Americans were careful with piranhas but feared the
Candiru and the freshwater stingrays. They would scuffle their feet through
the sand or mud so as not to step on a sting ray, and be inadvertently

Could that sting be so paralyzing that one could drown in shallow water?

Women in their monthly cycle still manage to discreetly and carefully bathe
without harm from the piranhas.

Thomerson also was fond of showing a slide of Leo Hoigne's finger. Attached
like the extension of a additional digit, was a baby wolf fish who just
wouldn't let go. Probably qualifies for extreme collecting. I can just see
someone asking around, "Hey, anyone got a cigarette lighter?" :)

And then there are the microfauna of African waters....

All the best!
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