TEXAS CITY, United States: A rarely seen, strange-looking sea creature that washed up on a Texas beach in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has been identified as a type of eel, reports said on Thursday (Sep 14).
Preeti Desai, who a report said is working with the US conservation non-government organisation National Audubon Society, saw the carcass on a beach in Texas City.
"I've already got a huge interest in wildlife, especially birds and ocean creatures, but it was so unexpected to see it there on the beach. On first glance it looked like something from the deep sea to me.
“My initial thought was it might be a sea lamprey but when I got close I realised there was no way that was what it was, particularly based on the mouth.
"We squished it around a bit, and even turned it over but couldn't come up with any other ideas."
So she posted photos of the fanged creature on Twitter on Sep 7, with the question "Okay, biology twitter, what the heck is this?"
Her Twitter question was eventually passed on to Dr Kenneth Tighe, a biologist and eel specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, who said that he believes the creature is a fangtooth snake-eel.
It could also be a garden or conger eel, because "all three of these species occur off Texas and have large fang-like teeth", he said in the report.
Fangtooth snake-eels are known to live near estuaries and in marine waters, in permanent or semi-permanent burrows with only snout and eyes exposed, darting to feed on other fishes and crustaceans.