Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Candiru: Life and Legend of the Bloodsucking Catfishes Paperback – August, 2002

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$28.99 $14.99

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Creative Arts Book Company; First edition. edition (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887394698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887394690
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


S. Spotte  a passé quatre années d'investigations sur la biologie de ces animaux mythiques et d'enquêtes sur des relations d'attaques sur l'homme.  Ces relations écrites ont pratiquement commencé avec les premiers récits des explorateurs européens.  Ce sont donc les résultats de ce vaste programme de recherche et d'enquête qui forment l'ossature de l'ouvrage. -- François Meunier, Bulletin de la Société zoologique de France 127: 393-395, 2002

[A] refreshing appraisal. . .providing a comprehensive review of the literature in addition to new information. . . .Spotte's book, by his own pen, is "neither wholly factual nor entirely fictitious" (p.xl); in other words, many candiru-related mysteries remain unsolved, and a healthy dose of speculation has been injected here and there. But Spotte goes a long way toward unmasking the doubts, sprouting even more questions. . . . Are candirus attracted by urine? Probably not. Is there proof that they actually penetrate human urethras? Yes. -- Marcelo R. de Carvalho, Cybium 27(2): 82

Spotte. . .has provided an unusual book that includes a review and assessment of previously published historical accounts, scientific reports, and legends about candirus, along with some original field and laboratory observations of his own. . . .[and] performed a great scholarly service by pulling together under one cover many of the old, obscure, difficult-to-obtain references on candirus. . . .I enjoyed reading about [his] and his Brazilian colleagues' search for candirus in the field, their subsequent experiments on feeding behavior, and their examination of a candiru removed by a surgeon from a male victim in 1997. . . .-- Philip A. Cochran, Bios 76: 31-33, 2005

Candiru is an accessible book for aquarists, biologists, and anyone simply interested in the more unusual aspects of tropical biology. . . .While investigating the mysteries of candiru biology, the author reviews fundamental information on fish sensory systems, parasitism, and the special physiological adaptations required by successful blood-feeding vertebrates. . . .The final chapter, "Candiru World", could only have been written by someone who has spent some time building and theming public aquarium exhibits. -- Pete Mohan, Drum & Croaker 34(1): 47, 2003

About the Author

STEPHEN SPOTTE is a marine biologist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. He was formerly a research scientist at the University of Connecticut. He has a PH.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi.

More About the Author

Stephen Spotte, a marine scientist, was born and raised in West Virginia. He has been a field biologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (Vicksburg, Mississippi); curator and later director of Aquarium of Niagara Falls (New York); curator of the New York Aquarium and Osborn Laboratories of Marine Science (Brooklyn, New York); director of Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, Connecticut); executive director of Sea Research Foundation and research scientist at the Marine Sciences and Technology Center, University of Connecticut (Groton, Connecticut); principal investigator, Coral Reef Ecology Program (Turks and Caicos Islands, B.W.I.), and adjunct scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Florida). Dr. Spotte has a B.S. degree from Marshall University, a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi, and is author or coauthor of more than 80 scientific papers on marine biology, ocean chemistry and engineering, and aquaculture. Field research has encompassed much of the coastal U.S., Canadian Arctic, Bering Sea, West Indies, Indo-West Pacific, Central America, and the Amazon basin of Ecuador and Brazil. His popular articles about the sea have appeared in National Wildlife, On the Sound, Animal Kingdom, Explorers Journal, and Science Digest. Dr. Spotte has published 18 books, including three volumes of fiction, a memoir, and a work of cultural theory. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist of The Wildlife Society and also holds a U.S. Merchant Marine officer's license.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Spotte's idiosyncratic book is a compendium of everything written or believed about a thin catfish purported to enter the human urethra, vagina or anus when one urinates in certain South American streams. He found, translated or had translated, and excerpted all scientific, journalistic or hearsay accounts of such attacks. As a scientist and writer Spotte writes a book which is a mix of scientific journalism, experimental science (Are the fish attracted to urine? Let's see what experiment will answer that question), fiction and philosphy. He visits the urologist who claims to have surgically remove a candiru from an unfortunate man's penis. He survived (the victim and the urologist too). Copious endnotes verify that he's not making this up. Are others? He had collected notes for 40 years and made several trips to South America to track down and do the research. As a fiction author he finishes with a hilarious final chapter (which could serve as a stand-alone short story) about a theme park. Some of the science is not easy going for non-biologists, but the lighthearted prose keeps us going to the amusing narrative parts. Read this book, not out of prurient interest, but for serious introspection about the nature of reporting, scientific experiment, zoos and aquaria, and rain forest urban legends.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim on April 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a fisheries biologist but never worked in SA. I had heard the legend and found the book separating fact from fiction on this fish very interesting and engaging. Mostly left me wanting to do research to settle some of the still unanswered questions.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Tsook on March 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everything you wanted to know about this fish which does not swim into your penis. Still a fascinating story about a famous urban legend and how it came to be.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again