Definition of candiru in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌkandɪˈruː/


A minute, slender catfish of the Amazon region, feeding by sucking blood from other fishes and sometimes entering the body orifices of mammals. It is notorious for its occasional habit of entering the urethra of human bathers.
  • Vandellia cirrhosa, family Trichomycteridae.
Example sentences
  • The candiru feeds parasitically by burrowing into body orifices, jamming itself in place using barbs along its sides then drinking the blood of its victim.
  • In fact, the candiru is one of a very few vertebrate parasites that targets humans.
  • The most widely discussed, if highly controversial, theory is that candirus are attracted to urine streams, mistaking them for the gill streams of fish.


Mid 19th century: via Portuguese from Tupi candirú.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: can|diru

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