Freaky Fish: The Pacu!

Pacu Feb 18 2015 _0002

In Papua New Guinea, there is a fish known as “the ball cutter”.

Pacu  are several common species of omnivorous South American freshwater fish that are related to the piranha.

Pacu and piranha have different teeth,however; while piranha have razor-sharp,pointed teeth and an underbite, pacu have flat, human-like or horse-like  teeth and an underbite.
A grown  pacu is much larger than a piranha, as well. When full grown, a pacu can be three feet long and weigh fifty-five pounds.

But about the name “ball cutter”.: In the rivers where these fish live, fishermen often go into the water to bathe.

The pacu eats nuts and seeds that fall from the trees and into the rivers. Many of these nuts are large and round. Pacu have very powerful jaws and teeth, because some of these nuts are quite hard to crack. And in muddy waters, where naked men are sloshing around,sometimes there are things that fish see in the murky depths that look quite a lot like their natural food. Usually by the time a pacu has swum up, taken a chomp and discovered, “oh, sorry, not what I thought it was”, it’s too late for the fishermen.

Another joking name for the pacu is the “Nutcracker Fish”.

Monsters of Europe: The Sphinx of Greek Mythology.

Sphinx, © 2007 Liz Vitale
Sphinx, © 2007 Liz Vitale

I found this drawing in an old sketch pad, so I decided to use it as a rare opportunity to show a humanish beast, as I hate drawing people. Actually, this was drawn during a life drawing class in which I was becoming tired and my mind was wandering.

In Greek mythology,The Sphinx is represented as a monster with a head and breasts of a woman, the body of a lioness, the wings of an eagle, and  sometimes a serpent-headed tail. By many accounts,she is supposedly the offspring of the Chimera –the three-headed monster that was part lion, goat, snake and dragon– and was sister to the Nemean lion and half-sister of Cerberus,the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of Hell.

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Monstrous Engravings: Dragon or Monster Snapping at a Fly.

fly snap.jpg

A monster or dragon snapping at a fly. My redrawing of an engraving print made by Agostino Veneziano, Italian. 1515-1530.

This thing was simply so odd, when I saw the original I wanted to learn more about it. Alas, nothing much is on the internet pertaining to it. Is it a dragon or simply a monster, composed of parts of other animals? It has dog-, bird- and lion-like qualities. Its wings are pitifully useless and stick up from the end of the ribs.  And why did the artist feel it was so necessary to accentuate its reproductive “status” to such a degree?

Monstrous Engravings: Elephant Man.

elephant head.jpg

I drew this from an engraving print I have been seeing since I was a kid; I saw it first in a book I checked out from the library about The Elephant Man. Strangely, I have been able to find no information about it–who the artist was or when it was created.
Similar artwork was featured on posters advertising The Elephant Man when he was exhibited in 19th century London.

On a lighter note, being a fan of The Young Ones TV show from the 80’s, this engraving print always reminds me of Elephant Head when I first glance at it. 😀