WINDWARD –– An “alien-looking” creature likened to “something out of a sci-fi horror film” has caused a stir in the Grenadine island of Carriacou.
The fishy story began when the strange-looking specimen was caught in the port of Windward, reportedly giving some seasoned fishermen quite a fright.
The foot-long fish reportedly had humanoid “feet” complete with toes, which allowed it to walk across the ocean floor, a “perfect human nose”, wings and scales.
And the apparent hybrid, whether fish or fowl, had disbelieving fishermen stumped.
One islander said: “Everyone crowded round to look –– nobody had ever seen anything like it.
“Quite a few people were pretty scared and thought it looked like something out of a sci-fi horror film.”
Veteran fisherman Hope McLawrence, 74, who found himself eyeball to eyeball with the “alien” creature when he hauled in his nets, admitted he was baffled.
He said the foot-long beast had two feet with toes, no fin, a long bone on its back and “a perfect human nose immediately above its mouth”.
“I have never discovered anything like this before. The wings and tail look extremely complicated,” he noted.
McLawrence, a master fisherman with more than 50 years’ experience in the industry, added: “By the look of the creature it cannot swim but apparently walks on the seabed.
“This has shocked me to a considerable extent since I never thought that a creature like this even existed, much less in the harbour of these shallow, friendly waters.
“This is like a mystery and breathes a chill with this discovery,” he indicated.
The attention-grabbing creature is believed to be a frogfish, an ambush predator that can eat almost anything that will fit into its mouth, which can expand to 12 times its normal size to accommodate prey such as fish, crabs and shrimp, as well as other frogfish.
Frogfish, a type of anglerfish, are masters of disguise and have a textured exterior that aids in their camouflage. They vary in colour and often have unique spines or bumps that change with their surroundings.
Their amazing ability to camouflage themselves serves as protection from predators and may explain why they have not been spotted by Carriacou fishermen before.
Unlike the Carriacou discovery, however, frogfish do not have scales.
According to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), frogfish lack a swim bladder and use their modified pectoral fins to walk or run across the seafloor.
They can be found in tropical and subtropical oceans and seas off the coasts of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia.