For the second straight year, there is an unwelcome Christmas visitor in northern Argentina.
A variety of piranha fish called palometas have returned for a second year to bite Argentine swimmers in the Paraná River, near the city of Posadas. On Christmas day last year, some 60 people were attacked by the palometa piranha, an aggressive creature with sharp teeth that bit off the finger of at least one swimmer and left others with bloody wounds.
At least two painful attacks have happened more recently in the district of Garupá, where local authorities have created artificial beaches, Clarín reported. The South American country is currently enjoying summer, and heat was attracting both area bathers and the biting fish, which also happen to be edible.
Garupá tourism chief Sebastián Dutra said inquiries sugggested the nippers may have been another fish, the tararira, which the daily described as another territorial fish with a powerful bite, though they haven't been registered as having attacked people yet.
There are five types of palometas in the Paraná river, Clarín wrote, and two types, which fishermen dub "white" and "fierce," are known to have attacked people.
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A palometas. Photo: Clarin