Just as porteños are coming to grips with the abundance of scorpions in Buenos Aires (and other regions across the country), cities along the Paraná river are now reporting attacks from palometas — a fish related to piranhas.
That’s right. Following on from the string of reported incidents in 2014, the Argentine razor-toothed cousins are back. And with a particular vengeance due to the high temperatures. There have been reports of sightings in the freshwater rivers from Entre Ríos to Misiones.
At least five people have reported bites near the Miguel Lanús neighborhood in Misiones’ capital city, Posadas. At the Ramón Madariaga clinic, doctors said that none of the treated patients had serious wounds. The local government is on record saying that there are probably many other unreported cases, since most people don’t go to hospital for a minor bite.
That being said, a man playing with his daughter, just a few inches into the river, had part of his toe bitten off in Paraná, Entre Ríos, according to a local newspaper.
Amado Martínez, member of the environmental group Yarará in Action, explained why we are seeing an increase in the number of palometas in an interview with Clarín. “Because they live in stagnant water, owing to the disappearance of yacarés, a specie of small caimans that was their natural predator, their population has grown exponentially”.
Back in 2014, health experts from Rosario explained the higher number of palometas was a rather unusual event that summer, but was not surprising during heat waves, when the water temperature goes up.