Nature never ceases to amaze us, as proven by a recent discovery off the coast of South Carolina. A strange fish with human-like teeth was reeled in by fishermen out of a saltwater creek and has since then become somewhat of an internet sensation, RT reports.
The peculiar-looking fish belongs to a species known as sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) and has stumped its captors with its very unusual set of teeth. This creature’s incisors and molars are strikingly similar to human teeth and help the fish tackle heavily armored prey, such as oysters and barnacles.
According to Science ABC, sheepshead fish are common to the Gulf and the Atlantic coasts of the United States. These are relatively big predatory fish that can reach up to 35 feet (or 90 cm) in length and can weight as much as 21.2 pounds (9.6 kg).
Biologist Pam Corwin, from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), managed to snag a snapshot of the bizarre fish, revealing a close-up of the sheepshead’s human-like front teeth.
The image caused a lot of excitement on May 9, when it was posted on Facebook by the state agency. To make matters more interesting, the SCDNR also came up with a quiz encouraging people to guess what species the strange fish belongs to.
In a humorous description written under the form of a riddle, the SCDNR only told its social media fans that the weird sea creature is colloquially known as the convict fish, due to the black and white stripes that adorn its body.
— beakstr ???? (@beakstr) May 12, 2018
The Facebook post, titled “What is it Wednesday,” also included a few precious clues meant to nudge guessers in the right direction.
“I like to hang out near rocks, jetties, reefs, and even bridges,” said the SCDNR riddle, noting that anyone wanting to catch the mysterious fish would need a saltwater fishing license.
“The coolest thing about me? I have human-like incisors and molars to help crush my food,” the riddle continued.
The last clue to the puzzle revealed what kind of prey the human-like teeth come in handy for, listing shrimp and oysters as top preferences in the fish’s menu.
It didn’t take too long for South Carolina’s experienced anglers to identify the mysterious fish. Most of the SCDNR’s Facebook followers quickly determined the weird sea creature was a sheepshead and even noted how delicious these fish are when you know how to handle and cook them properly.
“They taste so good. Their fins are very sharp. You have to be very careful when cleaning them. But they are so tasty,” someone commented on the post.
One Facebook user even warned people to stay clear of the fish’s impressive-looking teeth, recounting the story of how a sheepshead once chomped through his 7-millimeter wet-suit.
“Those suckers bite and ask questions latter!” he wrote, noting that he “would have rather tangled with a Barracuda.”
This is not the first time that a fish with human-like teeth gets pulled out of the water and into the limelight. In January, an Arizona fisherman caught another species of fish with human teeth in the Tuscon Silverbell Lake, the Inquisitr reported earlier this year. Although not a sheepshead, that particular fish also had square teeth that bore a strange resemblance to human teeth and was identified as a pacu, a freshwater fish related to the piranha.