'Has anyone caught one of these?': 'Baby alien' with teeth baffles internet

A fisherman was baffled after reeling in a purple alien-looking creature with sharp teeth while wetting a line at Australia’s Top End.

Two pictures appeared on the Outback Boat Hire Facebook page last week, of a creepy-looking fish hooked at Shady Camp, in the Northern Territory.

Has anyone caught one of these before?” the page’s admin asked, sharing pictures of the grotesque purple-finned sea critter, covered in what looked like scaly skin. 

A fisherman was left baffled to reel in a purple ‘alien’ looking creature with sharp teeth in the NT. Source: Outback Boat Hire/Facebook

It appears the freakish catch wasn’t a one-off, as another man said his mate hooked one similar at the same place.

I spun out when I saw those pics it is the weirdest looking creature! ” one woman commented.

While the odd creature baffled hundreds on social media, fish identification expert Morgan Grant said it wasn’t an alien, bit rather “one of the least-well-known groups of fish in Australia”.

Responding to the Facebook thread, the Grant’s Guide to Fishes author reckons the creature was a genus of “gobies” belonged to either the Eelgobies or Wormgobies fish species group.

The fish species rely on touch rather than sight to catch their prey, that’s why they have such ferocious teeth, an expert said. Source: Outback Boat Hire/Facebook

It could also belong to the genus Taenioides, and possibly the Purple Eelgoby, due to its colouration and body shape, he suggested.

“These fish are found in fresh and brackish estuaries, and coastal marine waters in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, and there are a number of species present in Australia,” Mr Grant said.

He also had a logical explanation for why it has such menacing teeth.

“They have poorly-developed eyes, often covered by skin, because they live in turbid water and rely on touch rather than sight to catch their prey,” Mr Grant wrote. “That’s why they also have such ferocious teeth, because when they find lunch, they don’t want to let it go!”

The discovery comes days after news a series of mysterious new fish species have been found in the depths of Australia’s eastern abyss.

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