Just the other day, one of my readers sent me a funny but educational video on Lake Okeechobee and the continued sightings of Pacu fish. Pacu Fish are related to Piranhas and both fish live in the Amazon River of South America. Both have TEETH.
Since my husband pulls out wisdom teeth and replaces teeth with implants, teeth are often a topic of discussion for us, even at the dinner table….when we first met, he told me my teeth were great, except my “lateral incisors were too prominent…..:) —-the vampire teeth! 🙂 I was not happy…:)
Anyway. Today’s blog post is meant to be fun but serious.
Invasive species are forever changing South Florida. Between pythons in the Everglades, Lion Fish in the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon, Cuban Tree Frogs as well as Bufo Frogs in Sewall’s Point, and Pacu Fish with their “human like teeth” in the Lake Okeechobee—that of course is periodically dumped into our rivers—our world is changing. Native species are being replaced and overwhelmed.
In their 5th Biennial Review of Progress in the Everglades or lack thereof, the National Reasearch Council noted Invasive Species as a top concern for Everglades Restoration.
I read about all this and get upset at the invasive species problem…then it dawns on me that some may say “we, modern man, in South Florida, are an invasive species too.”
Food for thought anyway….
Thank you to Ricardo Zambrano and Kelly Gestring of the Florida Wildlife Commission for replying to my question about PACU and Lake Okeechobee as seen below:
Dear Commissioner Thurlow-Lippish,
To the best of my knowledge, this report of a singleton pacu being caught by a commercial fisherman in Lake Okeechobee is true. The reporter contacted several FWC people and I was asked to confirm the identity of the fish.
We receive numerous reports every year of singleton pacu being caught (primarily in HOA ponds) every year from locations around the state. However, there is no indication that pacu are reproducing in any of our waterbodies. This strongly suggests that the illegal releases of pacu are by owners who no longer want their pet.
Pacu are primarily herbivores and pose little threat to native species. Anglers should be careful removing the hook as pacu’s have very strong jaws and their molar-shaped teeth could inflict a lot of damage to a finger.
We encourage anglers that catch a pacu to remove them to reduce any potential impacts they may have on the environment.
Thank you for your concern and if you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Non-Native Fish and Wildlife Program
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
10216 Lee Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33473
(561) 292-6007 office
(561) 234-9925 cell
WESH piece with video about Pacu sent by blog reader: (http://www.wesh.com/video/vuz/invasive-fish-with-humanlike-teeth-found-in-florida-lake/34337634?src=app)
3 thoughts on “Piranha, Pacu, Invasive Species, the Future of Lake Okeechobee and the SLR/IRL”
Ed Killer @TCPalmEKiller 5h5 hours ago
@_thurlow hey, Jacqui, did you know in 2010 Freeze in January a 39 pound pacu floated up dead in the North Fork of the SLR? #True
Hey. Nice article. Its important to educate people on the issues we have created for our environment. We continue to push out native species with introduced plants and animals. I thought you might like to know your first photo at the beginning of your blog is neither of the species you listed. That is a picture of a saltwater fish called a sheepshead.(Archosargus probatocephalus). It is a native species found along most of the Atlantic coast and throughout the coastal gulf of Mexico. It’s teeth, though intimidating, are used for cracking open crabs, barnacles, oysters, and mussels.