A mysterious eel-alike animal arrived in Texas after the heavy winds and rains that came when the Hurricane Harvey hit in various areas of the state. The photo where this creature appears was shared by thousands of users on Twitter, making all the social media to wonder about what this “animal” could be. However, finally, the mystery seems to be solved – at least partially.
Early this month, the social media manager at the National Audubon Society, Preeti Desai, posted a photo on Twitter of what looked like a marine animal – with sharp teeth and elongated brown-body – while she was accompanying conservationists assessing the damage caused by the storm. Of course, it went viral through all social online-platforms.
She didn’t have any clue of what this creature – found on a beach in Texas City, about 15 miles from Galveston – could be, so she proceeded to ask the scientific community “What the heck is this??”
“I follow a lot of scientists and researchers,” the social media manager told BBC News, referring to the answers on Twitter. “There’s such a great community of these folks that are very helpful, especially when it comes to answering questions about the world or identifying animals and plants.”
Desai also told the BBC that she left the marine creature right where she found it to “let nature take its course.”
Many perceptions came with this marine animal
The photos released a big debate among the social media users, using memes and incredibly written-responses. People couldn’t believe the extension of its body, which also appears to be composed of two little legs at the beginning of what it seems to be the tail. Some of them even believed the animal was an old “alien.”
She accepted her followers’ advice and asked the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History biologist, Kenneth Tighe about this animal that seems to be taken from Disney’s Atlantis. Tighe is considered to be an eel expert.
The biologist believed that the marine creature was most likely a fangtooth snake-eel, according to Earth Touch News. The appropriated name would be an “Aplatophis chauliodus.”
These animals live in not-so-deep waters of 100 to 300 feet, from the Gulf of Mexico to northern South America, “with only snout and eyes exposed, darting to feed on other fishes and crustaceans,” according to FishBase, an online database for fish species.
However, Tighe was not sure. This creature might also be a Bathyuroconger vicinus, or a Xenomystax congroides.
“All three of these species occur off Texas and have large fang-like teeth,” Tighe told Earth Touch News. “Too bad you can’t clearly see the tip of the tail. That would differentiate between the ophichthid and the congrids.”
This creature has no eyes, making the experts’ job more complicated. Fangtooth snake-eels tend to have little eyes, and this creature might have a pair if it’s seen from up close. However, eyes are organs that tend to decompose quickly, so it might be a clue to understanding this bizarre creature.
Source: The Washington Post