The dreaded Candiru is a small South American catfish which has a
reputation for swimming into the human urethra and getting stuck,
perhaps only removable by surgery. While there may be some folk
myth to the critter, there also is some truth to its habits. It is
mentioned, but without references, in General Parasitology by Tom
Cheng (1973). Many books on fishes mention it in passing, but few
cite useful references. There was a general review around 1967 in
that esteemed journal, Carolina Notes, published by Carolina Biological
Supply, that seems to be the most detailed account around.
The genus name used to be Vandellia, but now is Trichomycterus, family
Trichomycteridae. The members of this genus (family?) are parasitic
(?) or commensal (?) in the gill chambers of larger catfishes. This,
coupled with the kidney-like role of the gills, may explain the affinity
for nitrogenous chemicals.
I have a vague recollection of seeing a review of this fish sometime in
--maybe -- the early 80s, but I am unable find it and age regression
hypnosis has been of no help. Do any of you know of post-Carolina
references to Candirus, Vandellia cirrhosa, (= Trichomycterus)?
Any help will be much appreciated.
Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge
LEWIS at HG.ULETH.CA