The Spookiest, Ugliest, Scariest Monster Species - Halloween 2021

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The Spookiest, Ugliest, Scariest Monster Species - Halloween 2021

Image A - 'Piranha' illustrated by @blenchi.art

With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to cover the scariest and ugliest fish species that you can catch...if you really want to, although many of the species on this list will make you think twice about jumping in for a swim!

 

1) Goliath Tiger Fish (Hydrocynus goliath)

Image B - Sourced from Wallpapercave.Com

Distinguished by large and sharp protruding teeth, the Tiger Fish’s jaw holds a series of replacement teeth, meant to take the place of any teeth that might be lost or so broken.

Can You Fish For Them?

Regarded by sports fishing aficionados as a wily and fierce creature, Tigerfish are probably the most exciting freshwater game fish in the inland waters of Africa. You can use a number of strategies from fly fishing to trolling, drift fishing or spinning. 

Scary Monster Rating:

While most Tigerfish species are not known to be dangerous to humans, the Goliath Tigerfish is a scary exception. Citing recorded instances in the Congo River where unsuspecting swimmers have been preyed upon, it is the only African freshwater fish that is actually known to attack humans. Local legend suggests the killer fish has even been known to attack much larger prey, including crocodiles!

 

2) Angler Fish (Lophiiformes)

Image C - Sourced by NY Times.Com

Dark brown/ grey in colour, they have huge heads and mouths capable of swallowing prey double its size. Females are known for their dorsal spine that protrudes its mouth, like a pole.

Can You Fish For Them?

Not usually targeted by anglers, due to living in the lonely, lightless bottom of the sea, angler fish tend to be witnessed by deep-sea explorers who catch glimpses of the creatures in their own habitats.

Scary Monster Rating:

No bigger than a regular adult's fist, this fish is not particularly threatening to humans but its disturbing appearance and breeding methods are quite unnerving! Male angler latches onto females with their sharp teeth and over time, physically fuse with the female.

 

 

 

3) Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus)

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Besides its small eyes, the blobfish has a large mouth, small body, and small fins to match. With hardly any skeleton or muscle, its gelatinous appearance gives it it's 'Mr Blobby' nickname.

Can You Fish For Them?

The blobfish's body permits it to float just above the seafloor, which is 2.5 times deeper than most powerful submarines are capable of meaning that no human can observe let alone catch the blobfish in their natural habitat.

Scary Monster Rating:

Not an active hunter, the blobfish waits for food to come its way meaning it is in no way dangerous to humans, it is just really ugly. A British group known as the Ugly Animal Preservation Society has deemed the blobfish the world's ugliest animal since 2013, according to an online poll conducted by them.

 

 

4) Scorpion Fish (Scorpaenidae)

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Some scorpionfish are rather dull-coloured, but others are vibrant-often some shade of red. Perch-like fish with a large, spiny head and strong, sometimes venomous spines on the fins.

Can You Fish For Them?

There are some species of scorpionfish found in UK and European coasts and rockpools. For many anglers targeting bass, cod or plaice, they can end up accidentally catching the long-spined sea scorpion!

Scary Monster Rating:

It is one of the most poisonous animals in the ocean. Its appearance and venomous spines make scorpionfish one of the most feared sea creatures by other fish and humans!

 

 

5) Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni)

Image F - Sourced By Ocean.si.edu

The goblin shark has a flabby body and small fins. Its long, snout-like snout is covered with special organs and is one of the few shark species whose teeth are visible when its mouth is closed.

Can You Fish For Them?

Although witnessed in many oceans, goblin sharks are rarely seen by humans are only really accidentally captured in deep-sea longlines or trawls.

Scary Monster Rating:

More goofy than scary, goblin sharks are dangerous only for marine creatures and not to humans. 

 

 

6) Fugu (Tetraodontidae)

Image G - Sourced By Flemingsbond.Com

Also called pufferfish or blowfish, they have long, tapered bodies with bulbous heads and are known for their highly elastic stomachs that helps to turn them several times its normal size.

Can You Fish For Them?

Anglers often come across species of pufferfish when fishing the oceans of the West Indies, Japan, China, Philippines & Mexico. Pufferfish will use its defence mechanism of blowing up so look out for any sharp spines by wearing thick gloves when fishing for handling them.

Scary Monster Rating:

This fish is used in an incredibly popular Japanese dish but its been claimed to be more poisonous than cyanide! Only poisoned when consumed, when it comes to preparing this fish, it is highly recommended you leave it to the professionals as it can result in paralysis, loss of consciousness, and even death. According to government figures, 23 people have died in Japan after eating fugu since 2000. Most of the victims are anglers who rashly try to prepare their catch at home.

 

 

 

7) Slingjaw Wrasse (Epibulus insidiator)

Image H - Sourced By Flipscience.ph

They might not look like something special when they're going about their daily business, but these fish have a trick up their sleeve to snatch prey from the reefs: they can extend their mouth in a tube-like fashion.

Can You Fish For Them?

With their decent enough size of just under 2ft, slingjaw wrasses are on the menu of many people with whom they share their range and are therefore actively targeted by anglers.

Scary Monster Rating:

To humans, slingjaw wrasses are more strange than scary. At first they might look like any bright-coloured, tropical fish, but the devil is in the details, or rather, in their jaws. When searching for prey, they extend a tube from their jaws which they use to pluck their prey from in between coral branches and nooks and crannies on the reefs. Within a split second, they can extend their jaws to 65% of the length of their head.

 

 

 

8) Gulper Eel (Eurypharynx pelecanoides)

Image I - Sourced By Animalsoftheworld.Info

These eels are also called pelican eels for a reason: they have the a large, gulping mouth which allows them to scoop up water and swallow their prey whole. When they do, they look like a black balloon with a little tail.

Can You Fish For Them?

Being a deep-sea species, gulper eels aren't on the average angler's catch list. Most encounters with people happen at depths where only submarines can go, so it's observation only.

Scary Monster Rating:

Had these fish been bigger than their 2-3ft, they surely would've been a scary fish to come across! Luckily they aren't big enough to swallow a human and neither do they live close enough to the surface to make encounters with humans very likely. The unlucky crustacean or cephalopod that crosses their path, however, will meet a less fortunate fate when the gulper eel wraps it's massive mouth around them.

 

 

 

9) Stone Fish (Synanceia)

Image J - Sourced By Surfertoday.com

Stonefish are exquisitely camouflaged and therefore not only hard to see by humans, but also their prey. They have large heads and mouths, but tiny eyes and they're covered in wartlike lumps.

Can You Fish For Them?

Although stonefish can be eaten when prepared properly, they aren't actively targeted by anglers as they're hard to find and dangerous to handle. Some people do catch them for the aquarium trade, but it is rare.

Scary Monster Rating:

While the related scorpionfish' name sounds more dangerous (and for good reason), it's actually the stonefish that is the most venomous fish in the sea. The neurotoxins they release cause excruciating pain, terrible wounds with necrosis and sometimes death, even in humans. Most people get stung when they accidentally step on stonefish, so be careful where you put your feet when you're in stonefish territory!

 

 

 

10) Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus Itajara)

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As the name suggests, the goliath grouper's most distinctive feature is its size. Individuals can grow to more than 8 ft in length and can weigh up to 800lbs.

Can You Fish For Them?

Goliath groupers are targeted by commercial fishermen and recreational anglers alike. They have traditionally been caught in a variety of ways, from hook and line to traps and trawls. Spear fishers might also target this species. They are, however, considered endangered.

Scary Monster Rating:

Although a slow moving fish, the goliath grouper's sheer size is enough to intimidate anyone entering the water. Goliath groupers mostly hunt by ambushing their prey and large individuals are known to stalk divers, sometimes even trying to launch an (unsuccessful) ambush. They are a force to be reckoned with, though, and divers and swimmers should be cautious around them as they are known to aggressively defend their territory.

 

 

11) Moray Eel (Muraenidae)

Image L - Sourced By i.pinimg.com

Their teeth face backwards so that prey cannot easily escape. They also have a second set of jaws known as pharyngeal jaws that help them hold on to prey. 

Can You Fish For Them?

Moray Eels are usually caught by accident because as far as angling goes, they're more of a trophy catch for recreational anglers. Although they are considered a delicacy, catching them is only half the job. You have to kill a very angry fish first!

Scary Monster Rating:

One of the most dangerous fish in the sea, the Moray Eel is vicious when disturbed and will attack humans. Moray eel bites are infamously painful and can cause extensive bleeding. The body of moray eels is covered in a mucus layer, and in some species, this mucus is toxic. They can even slither on to land to attack prey, thanks to extendable jaws in their throats which drag the prey down their throat.

 

12) Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)

Image M -  'Great Barracuda' illustrated by @blenchi.art

Great barracudas have a distinctive streamlined, torpedo-shaped body with a protruding lower jaw and rows of sharp teeth. This species can grow to more than 5ft in length with females being larger than males.

Can You Fish For Them?

Great barracudas put up a ferocious fight when caught on a line and are therefore a popular target for recreational fishers who like a challenge. They aren't of great commercial importance, but their meat is sometimes eaten.

Scary Monster Rating:

Great barracudas might look scary, but are relatively harmless to people. They hardly attack humans unprovoked, but they hunt by sight and sometimes mistake shiny bits on divers' equipment for prey, especially in low visibility. Great barracudas are scavengers and are known to stalk snorkellers, thinking they're large predators and hoping for a few bits of fish. As harmless as they are alive, it's different when they're dead, as many people who ingest barracuda contract ciguatera fish poisoning!

 

13) Red-Bellied Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri)

Image A - 'Piranha' illustrated by @blenchi.art

 

Although red-bellied piranhas have the typical piranha-shaped, deep body with sharp teeth, they are easily recognised by their bright red belly, cheeks and chin.

Can You Fish For Them?

Piranhas are on the menu of many indigenous peoples of the Amazon Rainforest and are often caught in their nets. However, they're also easily caught on a rod with a bit of fish or meat for bait. Handling them is when most people experience an unwelcome encounter with their sharp teeth.

Scary Monster Rating:

Contrary to popular belief, piranhas aren't usually the vicious, all-devouring monsters we see in the media. Red-bellied piranhas are seen as one of the most aggressive species, but in reality most of the time they're fairly timid scavengers that become aggressive when hunting. Most attacks on humans occur when water levels are low, prey is scarce, or when the fish or its eggs are threatened. A large portion of their diet is the fin material snipped from other fish' fins and tails.

 

 

There you have it! 13 spooky fish that gives us the creeps! But there is just one more in the image below...

Image N -  Sourced by @naja_bertolt_jensen

WHAT IS THAT?! you may be asking. Well, the scariest things we see in our waters is waste, whether its plastic bags to plastic bottles. This may not be a scary fish but it's a scary problem. To read more on environmental issues, campaigns and ways you as anglers can help, read our environmental blogs, here.

 
 
 
Image Sources 'The Spookiest, Ugliest, Scariest Monster Species - Halloween 2021'
Heading Image.  Image A - 'Piranha' illustrated by @blenchi.art: https://www.instagram.com/blenchi.art/ 
1. Image B - Sourced from Wallpapercave.Com: https://wallpapercave.com/w/wp8389274
2. Image C - Sourced by NY Times.Com: https://static01.nyt.com/images/2019/07/29/science/29SCI-ANGLERFISH1/29SCI-ANGLERFISH1-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp
3. Image D - Sourced By Dailymail.Co.Uk: https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2019/09/25/02/18896568-7501307-image-a-4_1569375884786.jpg
4. Image E - Sourced By Upload.Wikimedia.Org: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Scorpaenidae_-_Scorpionfish_yawning_%2814264112535%29.jpg/1200px-Scorpaenidae_-_Scorpionfish_yawning_%2814264112535%29.jpg

5.  Image F - Sourced By Ocean.si.edu: https://ocean.si.edu/sites/default/files/styles/photo_full/public/goblin-shark-nologo.jpg?itok=hZu39Tl4

6.  Image G - Sourced By Flemingsbond.Com: https://flemingsbond.com/fugu-poison/

7. Image H - Sourced By Flipscience.ph: https://www.flipscience.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/FF_FS_2020-1-1024x536.jpg

8. Image I - Sourced By Animalsoftheworld.Info: https://animalsoftheworld.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Pelican-Eel-Eurypharynx-pelecanoides.png

9. Image J - Sourced By Surfertoday.com: https://www.surfertoday.com/images/stories/stonefish.jpg

10. Image K - Sourced By s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/imgds360live/product_images/3545331/part_images/1592245550.jpeg

11. Image L - Sourced By i.pinimg.com: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/6c/8c/8b/6c8c8b1aa43165af03566dbf89f605e5.jpg

12. Image M - 'Great Barracuda' illustrated by @blenchi.art: https://www.instagram.com/blenchi.art/ 

13. Image A - 'Piranha' illustrated by @blenchi.art: https://www.instagram.com/blenchi.art/ 

14. Image N - Sourced by @naja_bertolt_jensen : https://unsplash.com/photos/oxntvdNJb9o

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