A snap of a fisherman holding the bloody, impaled body of a sea lamprey aloft has gone viral… and given everyone nightmares.
The somewhat phallic looking, fanged creature, was posted on Reddit under the seemingly innocuous header “Friend also caught this fishing in NJ.’
Those who clicked, expecting some oversize yet nevertheless innocuous species of fish, were left clawing at their own eyes in an attempt to unsee the horror before them.
What’s more, these beasts are no sick Photoshop job, they’re real.
The snaps have been traced back to the Facebook page of fisherman Doug Cutler, who speared the beast with a bow fishing arrow. The rest of Cutler’s images boast a host of oversized sea life so it looks like this particular boat outing was just another day at the office for him.
The shot has since clocked up 1.2million views with many left aghast and rather hoping the image has been doctored in some way.
Sadly, a spokesman for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation tells Outdoor magazine: “The photo doesn’t allow counting of gill openings (seven per side for sea lampreys), but based on size alone, this does appear to be a sea lamprey.” (N.B a second picture has emerged which does indeed appear to show the prescribed seven apertures along the side.)
There's no official note on how big this thing is, though the New York Daily News points out sea lampreys are typically three foot long, “so the creature in the pictures is either a very large specimen or something else altogether.”
According to the Associated Press, sea lampreys are known as “aquatic vermin” which are wiping out some of the most popular fish species in America’s Great Lakes.
The sea lamprey resembles an eel but behaves more like a leech, latching onto fish and sucking out blood and bodily fluids with their round, disk-like mouths and sharp teeth.
And they’re swimming around right now. Thanks Reddit.
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