Giant Piranha Pacu

The Giant Piranha Pacu eats everything you put on the hook. This exceptional fighter of a fish is originally from south America and the biggest we have in the Phuket Freshwater Fishing Lake is around 8Kg

Species Profile – Giant Piranha Pacu

Pacu (Portuguese pronunciation: [paˈku]) is a common name used to refer to several species of omnivorous South American freshwater fish that are related to the piranha. Pacu and piranha have similar teeth, although the difference is jaw alignment; piranha have pointed, razor-sharp teeth in a pronounced underbite, whereas pacu have squarer, straighter teeth in a less severe underbite, or a slight overbite.[1] Additionally, full-grown pacu are much larger than piranha, reaching up to 30 kg (60 pounds) in weight, in the wild.

Pacu is a term of Brazilian Indian origin. When the large fishes of the Colossoma genus entered the aquarium trade in the US and other countries, they were erroneously labeled pacu. In the Amazon, the term pacu is reserved to smaller and medium sized fishes in the Metynnis, Mylossoma and Myleus genera. The Colossoma macropomum fish are known as tambaqui, whereas Piaractus brachypomus is known as pirapitinga.

Colossoma macropomum (Black Pacu), at the New England Aquarium.

Pacu, along with their piranha cousins are a characin fish, meaning a kind of tetra, belonging to the Characiformes order. The ongoing classification of these fish is difficult and often contentious, with ichthyologists basing ranks according to characteristics that may overlap irregularly (see Cladistics). DNA research sometimes confounds rather than clarifies species ranking. Ultimately, classifications can be rather arbitrary.[2]

Pacu, along with piranha, are currently further classified into the Serrasalminae subfamily. Serrasalminae means “serrated salmon family” and is a name which refers to the serrated keel running along the belly of these fish. However, dental characteristics and feeding habits further separate the two groups from each other.[2]

The common name pacu is generally applied to fish classified under the following genera:[3]