Featured Image Credit: Tom McHugh via Science Picture Library
By Alice Morris
There are plenty of fish in the sea, and a fair number of them are truly bizarre.
The hagfish may take the cake though as the most unusual fish of all.
Fascinating footage captured in Tiraú, Chile shows a hagfish slithering along a rock by the seashore.
Fishermen caught the animal and managed to get a good look at it before it eventually wormed its way back into the ocean.
The video was uploaded onto YouTube with the title “World’s Weirdest Fish.”
Lissette Hemosilla, who witnessed the catch, told National Geographic in an email, “We’d never seen anything like it. We just observed it until it returned to sea, dragging itself like a snake. I feel relieved that she returned to sea [to] survive in her habitat.”
The hagfish, also called Hyperotreti, is a jawless, eel-like fish. It is the only known living animal to have a skull, but no vertebral column.
Hagfish eat their prey from the inside out, boring a hole into the flesh with two rows of comb-shaped teeth. After feeding, they can survive months without another meal because of their slow metabolism.
To evade predators, hagfish secrete a thick mucus when threatened, which makes them difficult to grasp, giving them a chance to slither away.
There are 76 species of hagfish that live in cold waters all around the world.
Learn more about these fascinating fish here.