With its dark bulging eyes, striped body and rows of wonky humanlike teeth, the sheepshead fish isn’t precisely the prettiest creature to be plucked from the waters of Nags Head, N.C.
Photos of the catch, by angler Nathan Martin, were shared on Facebook earlier in the week by Jennette’s Pier, a well-liked fishing destination — much to the curiosity and horror of the many on social media.
“I think grandpa lost his dentures and this fish found them,” wrote one Facebook user. “Bad dentist. Must look elsewhere,” posted another.
Jennette’s Pier posted on Facebook that the fish weighed nine pounds which Martin had been pretty pleased together with his catch.
“It’s a very good catch, and it tastes excellent ,” Martin told McClatchy News.
Others on social media echoed Martin’s comments, also branding the unusual-looking fish “tasty.”
“That’s a sheepshead, and they’re extremely good to eat,” one Facebook user said.
Also referred to as sheepshead , sheepsheads are a standard North American marine species usually found in coastal areas, consistent with Scientific American. they will be found around piers and jetties in Cape Cod in Massachusetts through to Florida and therefore the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil.
According to the publication, “a fully-grown adult sheepshead will have well-defined incisors sitting at the front of the jaw, and molars set in three rows within the upper jawbone and two rows within the mandible .”
Experts say that the fish’s jaw musculature develops with age which the rows of teeth help them to crush their prey, which incorporates barnacles, crab, oysters, clams and material .
Sheepshead fish are silver in color and may get older to just about 30 inches.
They usually have around five or six vertical stripes along their bodies and are notorious for stealing bait and earning the species another nickname: the convict fish.