Anglers at Jennette’s Pier in North Carolina landed an unusual — and unsettling — catch from the Atlantic: a fish with human teeth.
This fish — as well as its teeth — are real. But, thankfully, it lacks any human characteristics.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the sheepshead fish (Archosargus probatocephalus) is also known as a convict fish because of the dark stripes that run along its gray body, resembling a classic prison jumpsuit. Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, is named for the fish, which may be found swimming along the Atlantic coast from New York to Brazil.
They may reach a length of 3 feet (91 cm) and eat a variety of oysters, clams, crabs, and the occasional piece of plant materials.
As a result, there are teeth.
The sheepshead fish, like humans, eats a wide variety of foods and possesses a set of dull, stubby chompers to get through meals.
According to Scientific American, a fully mature sheepshead fish would have three rows of molars in its upper jaw and two rows in its lower jaw, allowing it to crunch through the shells of its prey. The incisors (front teeth) of the fish, however, appear to be the most humanoid.
All of these teeth emerge gradually throughout the course of a fish’s life, as the animal matures and transitions from a diet rich in soft-bodied creatures to a shellfish-heavy diet later on. Two additional rows of molars are forming in the back of the fish’s lower jaw, according to a photo shared on Facebook by Jennette’s Pier.
Is a sheepshead fish a threat to humans with a pair of chompers like that? The answer, according to David Catania, the California Academy of Sciences’ ichthyology collections manager, is no.
So, when it comes to the sheepshead fish, Atlantic swimmers don’t have to worry about explaining any human-shaped bite marks on their butts.
Catania told Snopes.com, “I would not hesitate to swim in waters inhabited by these fish.” “Unless they are harassed, they pose no threat to humans. Anglers target sheepshead because they are tasty, therefore handling one after catch increases the risk of getting bitten or jabbed by their sharp dorsal fin spines.”
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