Angler catches fruit-eating piranha

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An angler on a fishing trip to a pond in Manchester, New Hampshire, has caught a fruit-eating piranha.

Jacob Wurm, 17, was fishing with his stepfather, Steve Provencher, at Tate Pond in Manchester when he caught what they believed to be a piranha.

Wurm told TheWMURChannel.com: "I was just afraid to get bit. I thought it was a piranha."

The fish was taken to the Fish and Game Department, where expert Steve Perry identified it as a fruit-eating piranha, or Pacu, from South America.

"The primary difference is the piranha will eat meat and flesh. It has sharp teeth. The pacu also has big teeth, but they're rounded.

"Many times, when they get larger, people release them in our waters up here in New Hampshire," Perry said.

The Fish and Game Department issued a warning to fishkeepers that it is illegal to release aquarium fishes into the wild.

Pacu used to be a common sight in the UK's aquarium shops and were a popular species with fishkeepers in the late 1980s.

Unfortunately, errors in some of the fishkeeping reference books of the time incorrectly gave a maximum adult size for the fish of around the 30cm/12" mark, whereas the species being imported had the potential to grow to in excess of 75cm/30" in captivity.

Most UK dealers now refuse to stock this species due to the large size and expensive aquarium requirements it demands.