Alien fish scares fisherfolk

IS it an alien, an evolutionary milestone or just a great ploy by our neighbours to reel in the tourists? That’s the question after fishermen from the Grenadine island of Carriacou recently hauled a weird-looking “alien” sea creature – which they claimed looked like a cross between a human and a fish – out of the shallow waters of the port of Windward.

According to a report this week in the Inquisitr online, the “alien fish” was about a foot long and was described by astonished local fishermen as having scales like a normal fish but no fins.
The creature instead had a pair of human-like feet with toes and a nearly “perfect human nose” located immediately above its mouth. It also reportedly had structures that looked like a tail and wings.

What is it? A fish from the deep?

What is it? A fish from the deep?

Sceptics have weighed in to say that the creature is simply one of several species of batfish that populate the waters around the islands. The fishermen disagreed and said they would have recognised a batfish immediately. Local sport fisherman, John Moses, told the Express that the odd-looker is likely a frogfish and, due to it being a deep-dwelling species, it’s not usually seen. Moses said the frogfish, also called an Angler, is an ambush hunter that “walks” on the ocean floor using modified pelvic and anal fins.

The fisherman who caught this specimen got that part right when he guessed that the strange creature uses its pair of human-like feet, with toes, to walk on the seabed while it looks for food. The find was described as accidental and spooked the islanders who were around at the time.
“Everyone crowded round to look – nobody had ever seen anything like it. Quite a few people were pretty scared and thought it looked like something out of a sci-fi horror film,” the Inquisitr quoted one such person as saying.

The “fish” was reportedly caught by 74-year-old Hope McLawrence, a fisherman with decades of experience, in the waters off the coast of Caribbean islands, including Carriacou and Grenada.
In addition to having “two feet with toes and no fin,” a long backbone, and an almost “perfect human nose immediately above its mouth”, the sea creature also sported structures that looked like wings and a tail.

“I have never discovered anything like this before. The wings and tail looks extremely complicated,” McLawrence was reported as saying. “By the look of the creature it cannot swim but apparently walks on the sea bed,” McLawrence said. “This has shocked me to a considerable extent since I never thought that a creature like this even existed, much less in the harbour of these shallow, friendly waters. This is like a mystery and breathes a chill with this discovery.”

But at least one sceptic waded in with a bit of sarcasm, stating in the online report: “It’s so bizarre and alien that it is a native species in Grenada. It is called a shortnosed batfish and it was even featured on a postage stamp in Grenada. Why anyone there thinks this is a new discovery is baffling.”

For those who believe the creature is a batfish (Ogcocephalus nasutus), another sea-dweller with unusual morphology, the species is found in West Atlantic waters, around Eastern Florida and
in Caribbean waters. It is a bottom-dwelling fish often found at depths of 200 to 1,000 meters but is also often found in shallow coastal waters and estuaries.

People are often spooked by the creature’s pectoral fins adapted for walking on the ocean floor in search of prey, which includes crustaceans, worms and other fish. The Inquisitr report stated that frogfish and batfish are often confused for each other, with Anglers being widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters outside the Mediterranean Sea.

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