Pacu is a South American freshwater fish found in most rivers and streams in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of lowland Amazonia, but they have also been reported as far as Papua New Guinea, where it was artificially introduced to aid the local fishing industry.
Pacu is related to the meat-eating piranha, both sharing the same subfamily Serrasalminae, although they have different food habits. The piranha is a carnivorous species while the pacu is omnivorous with vegetative tendencies. The difference is evident in the structure of their teeth. Piranha have pointed, razor-sharp teeth whereas pacu have squarer, straighter teeth, that eerily resemble those of humans.