A fish with human-like "molars" was caught last Friday near Rockford, but it's no offspring of Matt Groening's imagination.
Fishermen caught the tropical fish called pacu at Pierce Lake at Rock Cut State Park, according to the Illinois Department of National Resources. Another was caught a couple weeks back in Lake Lou Yaeger.
The teeth tend to give people the impression of piranhas, said IDNR spokesman Tim Schweizer, but this fish's gnashers aren't razor sharp like their omnivorous cousins.
"We have never had a report in Illinois of them biting anyone," Schweizer said.
Still the fish has a rumored reputation of attacking human testicles. Reports made the rounds last year of two men from Papua New Guinea who bled to death after their testicles were bitten.
"There have been wives tales that it eats testicles," said IDNR spokesman Chris McCloud. "It's hilarious. There's never been any documentation of that."
Schweizer said pacu are a tropical fish typically kept in fish lovers' aquariums. In some cases, the fish, which can grow up to 50 pounds, gets too big for the aquarium and owners set them free.
"We don't want people dumping them into lakes," Schweizer said, noting they disrupt sporting fish and, in some cases, scare people into thinking they're piranhas with human teeth.