Two rarely seen—and rather strange-looking—fish were found last week in North Carolina and Florida. Anglers fishing off Pensacola Beach pulled in an eel-like jellynose, while visitors to Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina found a sinister-looking lancetfish on the shore.
“Have you ever seen anything like it?” asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on its Facebook page.
Even experts there had trouble identifying the jellynose. It is a mystery how this deep-water creature found its way to the shallow waters of Pensacola Beach. Little is known about jellynose, other than the fact that they are known to exist in the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
“Most records of this species are from deeper than 300 meters,” stated the institute’s curator of collections Joan Herrera. “It is also pretty rare.”
Less rare is the lancetfish, which beachgoers found washed ashore last Monday off Jennette’s Pier in North Carolina. The fish may look like something out of a horror movie, but experts say it is instead a relatively slow deepwater predator. Some anglers and commercial fishermen may be familiar with the species, as lancetfish will sometimes take bait meant for other fish. The fish sports a characteristically large mouth and sharp teeth. A number of marine animals prey on the species, including tuna, sharks, opah, and even seals. Pier officials told WGHP that the lancetfish was taken back into deeper waters and released, although it was likely ill if it came so close to shore.
Fishermen do not consider jellynose to be very palatable due to their gelatinous flesh.
Thumbnail image courtesy FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and NOAA