A strange-looking fish was caught this week in Pensacola, Florida, and local wildlife officials say they have no idea how to identify the bizarre creature.
The fish was caught earlier in the week. The angler responsible for the catch decided to send the unusual creature to the the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.
Pictures of the fish showed a smooth creature with no scales, eyes that protruded from the top of its head, and a long tail like an eel in the place of a back fin.
This isn’t the first time a bizarre and prehistoric fish has been captured off the Florida coast.
Last year, a shark fisherman taping a Japanese television show came across a massive beast that he said looked like “a dinosaur.”
The 800-pound creature measured 14 feet from head to tail.
“It was very old. It had barnacles all over it,” said Captain Mark Quartiano, a controversial charter boat operator known as “Mark the Shark.”
That fish was tentatively identified as a hookskate, a little known species that normally lives on muddy sea bottoms up to 1,000 feet beneath the water’s surface. But other scientists believe it may have actually been the even more rare dasyatis centroura, a type of stingray that normally grows to between 600 and 700 pounds.
Wildlife officials haven’t given any indication of the identity of the fish caught off the Pensacola pier, or if it could have been related to recent flooding that swept the area. In late April the area was struck with heavy downpours that brought the worst flooding in a generation, leaving streets underwater and washing out waterways.
Researchers have taken DNA samples from the bizarre fish caught off the Pensacola pier. They hope to be able to confirm the ID of the species within a few weeks.