Fish reeled in with human teeth so powerful they can crush oyster shells
A couple out fishing landed a rare catch – a fish with a full set of human teeth.
Pamela and Chad Holbrook caught the creature in Charleston Harbour, South Carolina, and shared the finding online.
Mrs Holbrook, 32, said it was a sheepshead fish, which are tough to catch, often stealing bait from the line.
"They crush barnacles, oysters, and crabs with those teeth," she said. "They are not sharp like what we think of as incisors.
"But some of the teeth toward the front are skinnier like our incisors and then they go backwards to molars – well, kind of like molars.
"They have to have teeth to be able to rip out and then crush down the shell of oysters and barnacles."
Pamela, a marine biologist, said that one key difference between the sheepshead’s teeth and human teeth was that the fish’s came in rows.
"They don’t have sets where they have ‘baby’ teeth then permanent ones come in," she said.
"They can hurt and crush your fingernail if they’re bigger. So you’ll never see a seasoned fisherman with his fingers in a sheepshead mouth."
She added that the fish was delicious to eat, for those able to catch it.
She said: "They’re fun but tricky to catch, because you can’t feel them so it’s hard to know sometimes.
"They are also really good bait snatchers!
"It’s my favorite fish to eat hands down. It’s firm, white meat with no fishy taste."
Sheepshead begin to develop teeth when they’re just 4.5mm long and they have a full set by the time they’re 15mm long.
They’re typically found along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US, and Sheepshead Bay in New York City is named after them.
Its diet consists of oysters, clams, and other bivalves, and barnacles, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans.
The pacu, a South American fish related to the piranha, is also known for having teeth remarkably similar to human teeth.
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