Mysterious Sea Creature Washes Ashore In Texas After Hurricane, Experts Try Identifying It

A mysterious sea creature washed ashore on a Texas beach after Hurricane Harvey. The eyeless sea monster was discovered on a beach in Texas City after being being displaced by the violent hurricane that decimated and flooded much of the southeastern part of the state.

Daily Mail reports that Preeti Desai of the National Audubon Society posted an image of the mysterious sea creature on Twitter asking for help from biologists in identifying it. The dead animal also had razor-sharp teeth and a lengthy body in the shape of a cylinder. Desai thought it might have been a sea lamprey, but realized it wasn’t based on the shape of the mouth. She said time was spent turning it over and squishing it to learn more about what it could be, but came up with nothing.

Input Desai got from other scientific experts was vast, but most agreed it was some type of eel. Pinning down the specific kind of eel was the hard part. The popular opinion was that the sea creature was a fangtooth snake-eel — it’s also known as a tusky eel and is native to the Gulf of Mexico. These types of eels have eyes, but since they’re small, they may have been missing on the carcass found due to decomposition. As for their habitat, tusky eels live in waters between 98 and 295-feet-deep. They spend the majority of their time hidden in the depths, but aren’t strangers to venturing into shallow waters.

Dr. Kenneth Tighe of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History agrees with the notion that mysterious sea creature is tusky eel, but thinks it could be from another eel family like the the garden or conger eels. The large teeth is a clue that it’s not a member of most species that fall into those two families. Tighe explains that the sea creature that washed ashore after Hurricane Harvey could be either a “Bathyuroconger vicinus or Xenomystax congroides.” Apparently, those species live off Texas and have large fang-like teeth. If the tip of the tail was more visible, Tighe says it would helpful in identifying the mysterious sea creature and making a distinction of which species it belongs to.

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