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Freaky fish turns up far inland
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/8105827.html ^

Posted on 07/01/2007 6:18:41 PM PDT by traumer

As soon as he viewed the photo - those fanglike teeth, like something out of a horror movie - John Lundberg knew what the mystery creature was.

"Once you see one of these things, you don't forget it," says Lundberg, curator of fishes at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

It was a wolf eel, a 6-foot-long - docile, despite appearances - inhabitant of deep waters off the North Atlantic coast, including New Jersey.

The puzzle: How did the smelly, half-decomposed specimen get to a fox den in Hunterdon County?

Susan Goeckeler had been walking with her dogs on her 50-acre farm outside Frenchtown one afternoon about six weeks ago when she came across the unusual jaws.

Her sons Rowan, 7, and Jarred, 13, are always finding snakeskins and skulls and such, "but usually we can identify them."

She called a neighbor who hunts, thinking it might be a bear skull. Nope.

Jarred, a seventh grader, took it to school. No luck there. Nor online.

Goeckeler finally brought photos to the state wildlife management office in nearby Clinton.

Baffled, the staff asked her to bring in the jaw. They checked with colleagues in the endangered species program next door. Same deal.

"We're all terrestrial guys," says principal biologist Kelcey Burguess. Still, he says, the evidence was unmistakable, not to mention overpowering: "It had a fish smell."

Photos went from there to state fisheries folks, who forwarded them to the museum in Philadelphia.

That's where the specimen is now. The staff has immersed it in a bath of alcohol, "trying to take the edge off" the stench, Lundberg says.

The curator of fishes says he doesn't know which of several wolf eel species it is, but the genus is Anarhichas. And it's not a true eel, he says, but a type of fish that is edible.

"They're on the bottom and hang out in rocks, poking their heads out and snagging crabs," he says, adding that the creature breaks the hard shells with its powerful jaws. "It looks just like a tool for cracking crabs and lobsters that you get in a restaurant."

The academy plans to display the specimen, along with two others from its collection, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, says research and curatorial assistant Kyle Luckenbill, who will answer questions.

Meanwhile, the question remains: How did a deepwater marine species wind up more than 50 miles from the nearest beach? (A saltwater eel, it could not have swum up the Delaware River.)

Lundberg's best guess is that locals caught it while fishing at the Jersey Shore. Or found it while beachcombing.

Then they brought it home, skipping what would have been his final step:

"I'd bring the head home and mount it."


TOPICS: Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: callingartbell; coastalenvironment; cryptozoology; environment; nj
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1 posted on 07/01/2007 6:18:44 PM PDT by traumer
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To: traumer
Some kid brought it back from the shore in his suitcase, and his mom made him throw it out.

(At least, that's what always happened to US!)

2 posted on 07/01/2007 6:20:42 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: traumer

That’s my mother-in-law......!!


3 posted on 07/01/2007 6:21:21 PM PDT by Osage Orange (molon labe)
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To: traumer
Here is a wolf eel:

It hasn't got the teeth that the partial remains have.
4 posted on 07/01/2007 6:25:40 PM PDT by NCC-1701 (ELIMINATE ORGANIZED CRIME. ABOLISH THE I.R.S.)
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To: traumer
It runs in the family.
5 posted on 07/01/2007 6:25:47 PM PDT by Westlander (Unleash the Neutron Bomb)
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To: traumer

bump


6 posted on 07/01/2007 6:26:56 PM PDT by lowbridge (If Youre Gonna Burn Our Flag, Wrap Yourself in It First /No Oil for Pacifists)
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To: traumer

One of those lived under my bed when I was a little kid!

My parents didn’t believe me either.


7 posted on 07/01/2007 6:30:23 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: traumer

Looks like it came from one of the aliens from “Aliens vs. Predator”.


8 posted on 07/01/2007 6:30:29 PM PDT by Firefigher NC
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To: traumer
Wolf Eel
9 posted on 07/01/2007 6:32:18 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: NCC-1701

see # 9


10 posted on 07/01/2007 6:33:05 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: traumer
It was a wolf eel,

I don't think so Ollie.

11 posted on 07/01/2007 6:33:25 PM PDT by chesty_puller (Old burned-out Marines for Fred.)
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To: traumer
...curator of fishes at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

No, No, NO! The word fish is both singular and plural. One fish, two fish, lots of fish, there is no word fishes.
12 posted on 07/01/2007 6:33:59 PM PDT by Talking_Mouse
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To: Talking_Mouse

I think ‘fishes’ is a proper word. Ichthyologists use the term all of the time.


13 posted on 07/01/2007 6:36:44 PM PDT by Texas Songwriter
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To: chesty_puller

14 posted on 07/01/2007 6:37:58 PM PDT by traumer
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To: traumer


15 posted on 07/01/2007 6:41:51 PM PDT by Andy from Beaverton (I'm so anti-pc, I use a Mac)
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To: traumer

Sea Wolf.....Thats a class of submarines.


16 posted on 07/01/2007 6:42:41 PM PDT by TOneocon (The reason there is so much poverty is because of the uneven distribution of capitalism...Rush)
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To: Talking_Mouse
"Fishes" is also acceptable and correct. Main Entry: 1fish Pronunciation: \ˈfish\ Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural fishor fish·es
17 posted on 07/01/2007 6:43:40 PM PDT by SittinYonder (Ic t gehate, t ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille furor gan)
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To: traumer

Wolf eels, the Ichthyological Orthodontist’s wet dream.


18 posted on 07/01/2007 6:45:16 PM PDT by Rb ver. 2.0 (The Republican party of today is the Whig party of the 1850's.)
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To: traumer
That's not a fish, its a rancor skull!


19 posted on 07/01/2007 6:46:13 PM PDT by Domandred (Eagles soar, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines)
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To: MotleyGirl70; Cagey; Larry Lucido

Another mystery solved by Art Vandelay.


20 posted on 07/01/2007 6:47:08 PM PDT by Rb ver. 2.0 (The Republican party of today is the Whig party of the 1850's.)
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