A strange, fanged creature with the features of a slug has washed ashore on a Texas beach following Hurricane Harvey, and marine biologists are now scrambling to identify it.
Citizen Preeti Desai discovered the organism–a large, brown, worm-like beast–and posted a picture to Twitter, seeking the opinion of the biology community.
“It was completely unexpected, it’s not something that you’d typically see on a beach,” Desai told the BBC. “I thought it could be something from the deep sea that might have washed on to shore.”
She added, “My main reaction was curiosity, to figure out what the heck it was.”
“I follow a lot of scientists and researchers. There’s such a great community of these folks that are very helpful, especially when it comes to answering questions about the world or identifying animals and plants,” she said.
She said she left the ocean animal on the beach “to let nature take its course.”
Dr. Kenneth Tighe responded to Desai’s post, calming speculation the creature was something that had never before been discovered. Actually, Tighe said the creature could be any one of three species of eel known to reside in 108 to 300-meters deep waters in coastal Texas: a Fangtooth Snake, Garden, or Conger eel.
Tighe said, “All three of the species occur off Texas and have large fang-like teeth.”
Fangtooth snake-eels, also known as toothy eels, can grow up to 33 inches long and they eat bony fish and crustaceans.
— Preeti Desai🌿 (@preetalina) September 6, 2017
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