Anglers at Jennette's Pier in North Carolina pulled up something unexpected — and uncanny — from the Atlantic: a fish with human teeth.
Yes, this — and its teeth — are real. But fortunately, there's nothing human about it.
It's called a sheepshead fish () — also known as a convict fish for the dark stripes running down its gray body, reminiscent of a stereotypical prison jumpsuit, according to the . The fish is commonly found swimming along the Atlantic coast, from New York to Brazil, and gave Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, its name. They can grow up to 3 feet (91 centimeters) long and dine on a variety of oysters, clams, crustaceans and the odd bit of plant matter.
Key Facts about Archosargus probatocephalus
- They have a deep and compressed in body shape, with five or six dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background.
- They have sharp dorsal spines.?
- They have a hard mouth, with several rows of stubby teeth – the frontal ones closely resembling human teeth – which help crush the shells of prey
• Can grow to 76 cm (30 in), but commonly reaches 30 to 50 cm (10 to 20 in).
• The average weight of a sheepshead is 1.4 to 1.8 kg (3 to 4 lb), but some individuals reach the range of 4.5 to 6.8 kg (10 to 15 lb).
- These fish prefer inshore around rock pilings, jetties, mangrove roots, and piers as well as in tidal creeks, the euryhaline sheepshead prefers brackish waters.
- They also seek out warmer spots near spring outlets and river discharges and sometimes enter freshwater during the winter months.
- These fish move to offshore areas in later winter and early spring for spawning.