Jun 17, 2008

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

Herbie went fishing off the New England coast for striped bass a couple of mornings ago. Being a knowledgeable fisherman, he used a mackerel for bait. So when he felt a tug on his line, the last thing he expected to find was a fish even smaller than the mackerel.

You're looking at a red sculpin who bit off more than he could chew (or swallow, or survive). Why didn't the red sculpin (aka sea raven, Hemitripterus americanus) just let go? These fish, like many others, are equipped with backwards facing teeth back in the throat called vomerine teeth. These teeth help the predator keep a hold of the prey, but they spelled this particular fish's demise.

Thanks for the photos, Herbie. Better luck next time.


Kit said...

So it CHOKED to death? The red sculpin is kinda pretty, but in the brains line... it's about as smart as a sea cucumber.

Lola said...

that poor thing. it suffocated to death. can you imagine its panic, thrashing around in the water, dying so slowly? how sad. :(

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. I've taken some big bites in my day, but never anything bigger than me. Nice try, Mr. Fish.

Anonymous said...

"can you imagine its panic, thrashing around in the water, dying so slowly?"

If you have ever been fishing, you know that fish are often left in a bucket to die or simply thrown on the ground. At least that guy had dinner stuck in his throat instead of a hook and line.

Emily said...

That's crazy looking!

That first pic should be submitted to failblog.org