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Dangerous Fishes

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Chapter Summary

In Brazil, injuries to humans caused by freshwater fishes are common and can be observed in many situations, causing painful processes, necrosis, mutilation, high morbidity and even mortality. Fresh waters in Suriname also have some potentially dangerous fish species. Piranhas have a reputation of grisly man-eaters, but most human deaths attributed to piranhas are probably cases of scavenging on drowned or otherwise already dead persons. Injuries to humans by stinging catfishes and stingrays are purely defensive; no report has been made of an offensive strike. All gymnotiform knifefishes generate electric pulses, but the electric output is generally weak. The only species that can produce really powerful, even lethal discharges is the electric eel Electrophorus electricus: up to 600 volts, 1 ampere, in large specimens of 2-2.5 m. The only threat in Poisonous Fishes are the puffer fishes or bosrokoman.

Keywords:catfishes; dangerous fish species; Electrophorus electricus; gymnotiform knifefishes; Piranhas; puffer fishes; stingrays

10.1163/9789004207653_009
/content/books/b9789004207653s009
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