Humans have long feared the creatures that lurk in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. And for good reason. There are some truly strange creatures that live there. This recent catch is a prime example.
On April 8, Roman Fedortsov, a commercial fisherman who operates a deep-sea trawler out of Murmansk, Russia, posted a picture of one of the strangest fish you’ll ever set eyes on. Fedortsov is known for the oddball fish he catches but this one outdoes the rest. The fish sports a fleshy pink mouth and a scaly black body extending to a lizard-like tail. The fish’s eyes are protruding grotesquely.
According to Federtsov, the fish is a “big-eyed macrurus,” though Field & Stream has been unable to verify the species. USA Today reports that the fish may instead be a “Macrourus berglax,” a deepwater species also known as a roughhead grenadier or onion-eye grenadier. Either way, it’s strange.
Trawling is a commercial fishing tactic that involves pulling a cone-shaped net through deep water to catch target species. The NOAA notes that the tactic threatens marine mammals and sea turtles due to bycatch. The strange fish that Federtsov shared likely looked uglier than it normally would. Its eyes were bugging out due to the expanded gasses from its swim bladder after being pulled up from deep water, which is a phenomenon that often occurs to rockfish.