We Outsiders have seen fish with teeth. We’ve even seen those “fish with human teeth” photos that occasionally go viral. But this – this one takes the cake.
Unless we’re talking predatory fish like sharks and barracudas and piranhas, teeth aren’t normally the first thing that come to mind for the animals. Bass fishing would be a whole lot different if each small or largemouth came up with full rows of chompers. I know I’d be a whole lot less eager to stick my fingers in their mouth, that’s for damn sure.
But nature is strange. Like, really strange. And every so often, two species evolve incredibly similar attributes that leave all logic behind. Like this fish below, who’s teeth belong in the mouth of your least favorite teacher – and not your latest catch.
North Carolina angler Nathan Martin is showing off his latest trophy from Nags Head this week. In his photos via Facebook, we can see why it’s so worth showing off. The fish has fully human teeth – top to bottom:
Martin caught the Frankenstein fish off Jennette’s Pier in the early afternoon, reports Fox5, and he plans on mounting on the wall for all to see. And besides nightmare fuel – what exactly is it?
I’ve seen certain triggerfish species that have remarkably human teeth – but this one takes the cake. And then some. According to experts, Martin’s catch is a sheepshead. They’re an elusive species, and one that’s rarely caught at the surface.
Fish with Human Teeth: Sheepshead Is as Curious as They Come
Sheepshead fish (Archosargus probatocephalus) develop their human-like teeth as naturally as we do. In the wild, the species uses their teeth to get at barnacles and other shellfish.
According to Scientific American, Sheepshead fish are common in North America. They span from Cape Cod and Massachusetts all the way through to Florida – then down the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil.
These toothy fish prefer coastal habitats around rock pilings, jetties, mangroves, reefs and piers, the trade continues. They can reach a relatively large size, too, at around 35 inches (91 cm). The species has five to seven dark vertical bars running down their bodies, which has also earned them the name of “convict fish.”
As for those incredible teeth, the fish will develop well-defined incisors at the front of the jaw, and molars set in the upper jaw, with two rows in the lower jaw by adulthood. Sheepshead also have remarkably strong, heavy grinders (like sheep and humans) set in the rear of the jaw. These are particularly important for crushing and grinding food.
Apparently, their varying diet is the reason for their teeth being as similar as us humans. Who – from other animals to plants – eat pretty much anything we damn well please. Just like the sheepshead.