Bites at Animal Planet

21 May

Rare Lancetfish Washes Ashore In North Carolina

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Cute, right? (Photo Credit: Allen Shimada, NOAA)

Beachgoers were stunned last week when an extremely rare and unusual looking fish washed ashore in North Carolina.

Marked by its sharp teeth, jagged dorsal fin and long, skinny body, the lancethead fish was found alive near Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, located in the Outer Banks.

Very little is known about the lancetfish, but what we do know is as unusual as its physical appearance. According to NBC News, adolescent lancetfish are hermaphrodites, possessing male and female sexual organs, and the species is nicknamed the “cannibal fish” for eating members of its own species (lancetfish also eat crustaceans, squid and other types of small fish). The lancetfish’s creepy appearance doesn’t deter seals, sharks and larger fish from targeting it as prey.

Lancetfish also prefer to swim in open waters, making this sighting even more unusual. Even though the species prefers tropical and subtropical waters, lancetfish have been spotted near Iceland and Greenland.

We may know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry—lancetfish have no interest in humans.

What would you do if you found an unusual fish, and how do you think the lancetfish compares to the freshwater creatures Jeremy Wade finds on River Monsters?

More awaits when Monster Week continunes TONIGHT at 8PM EP!

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