Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 98: Mar-Apr 1995

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Vampire fish -- [x-rated item]

A tiny, transparent, still-nameless fish swimming in the Araguaia River in the Amazon Basin comes out at night to suck blood from its victims. It wriggles into the orifices of animals, anchors itself with two hook-shaped teeth, and gorges on blood. The gills of other fish are its usual targets, but the orifices of other animals, including humans, are fair game, too.

This Amazonian fish is only about 1 centimeter (less than ½ inch) long, making it smaller than the infamous candirus that threaten bathers in other South American streams. Once a candiru slithered into a cut on a researcher and could be seen wriggling under the skin toward a vein. Candirus also anchor themselves inside their victims' orifices, requiring surgical removal.

(Homewood, Brian; "Vampire Fish Show Their Teeth," New Scientist, p. 7, December 3, 1994.)

For more on this fish, see BHX12 in our catalog: Biological Anomalies: Humans III. To order: go to here.

From Science Frontiers #98, MAR-APR 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987