While filming a 90-documentary concerning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil for the BBC, soccer superstar David Beckham was advised by producers to stay clear of the Amazon river, to avoid the feared and genital-attacking Candiru fish.
Also called the "vampire fish," the Candiru swims into the urethras of its hosts, and commences to feed on blood meals. The process is said to be so excruciating that many victims die of shock, and surgeries to remove the tiny fish are sometimes fatal.
The Candiru, scientifically known as Vandellia cirrhosa, a is a species of parasitic freshwater catfish native to the Amazon Basin, where it is found in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The body of the Candiru is translucent, making it very difficult to see, and there are small sensory nodes around the head, along with backward pointing spines on the gill covers, which helps the fish to stay inside a host.
Amazonian lore states that a Candiru can swim up one's urine stream, even if only a victim's feet are in the water.
A source from the BBC told Confidenti@l that, “Talent and crew were given full-length medical and terrain awareness courses before the journey. It was a key part of their process and necessary to get insurances before their trip under BBC guidelines. One of the most dangerous creatures in the world lives in the Amazon River, and for men it is both deadly and painful."
Beckham joined friends Dave Gardner and Derek White, along with filmmaker Anthony Mandler to produce what BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore describes as being a program in which "David Beckham embarks on a top-secret expedition to the Amazon that will see him encounter the other side of Brazil and journey through the tropical rainforest, a TV first for the global icon.”
The Brazilian government will urge visitors to stay out of the river during the World Cup games, while various news outlets have reported men having their penises removed after Candiru attacks.
Image via Wikimedia Commons