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Mystery Cayman Fish
Status: Identified as a rattail
David Emery forwarded me the link to this creepy looking fish that washed up on the beach on Cayman Brac over the weekend. The local paper there is trying to figure out what in the heck it is:

It is roughly thirty inches long, more than half of which is a long, eel-like tail attached to a fish body. It has pale pink scales, pectoral fins, a dorsal fin and a small feathery fin on its belly. Local fishermen say they have not seen a creature quite like this before. It has boney bristles all along its spine, right down to the tip of its tail and small sharp teeth, which curve slightly inward.

If you have any idea, let them know. I assume it is a real fish. Kentaro Mori speculates that it's a deep-sea creature, like these. (Remember them? They're the fish that supposedly washed up on beaches after the Asian tsunami.)
image image

Update: According to the Cayman Net News, in an article posted January 20, 2006, the mystery fish has been identified: "Croy McCoy, a research scientist at the Department of Environment, told Cayman Net News that, based on the description and photos provided, he believes the fish is a member of the Family Macrouridae (Coryphaenoididae), better known as grenadiers or rattails." (Thanks to Rswilson for posting this link in the comments. And let it be noted that Nemo was right.)
Categories: Animals
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jan 19, 2006
Comments (12)
Yummy. I had a fish for dinner last night.

It looks pretty weird. It sort of has the head of a bass or maybe a cat fish but the way its body goes into a thin tail. I think it was mutated...
Posted by davetolomy  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  04:07 AM
. . . or maybe just half-rotten?

Partly decomposed whale corpses are frequently trotted out as "mysterious sea monster".

By the way, I'm pretty sure an eel IS a fish. Is it that unusual to see an "eel-like tail" on a "fish body"? I used to have an aquarium fish called a "dragon-fish".

The boney-bristles down its spine sound like the remains of a dorsal fin.
Posted by Joe  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  05:23 PM
I'd bet money that it's a juvenile oarfish. Oarfish are very long and skinny, getting up to 8 meters long (the longest bony fish), have weird monkey-like faces, and have a row of spines along the back with a dorsal fin growing between them.
Posted by Nick H.  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  06:57 PM
It looks like a fairly ordinary fish to me. None too fresh, though.
Posted by Big Gary, aquarist  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Thu Jan 19, 2006  at  07:08 PM
are there any higher-resolution pictures?
Posted by Citizen Premier  in  spite of public outcry  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  12:09 AM
I wish the pictures were better, but it looks like the fish could be a rattail or grenadier, family Macrouridae http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.cfm?ID=185
Posted by Nemo  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  10:47 AM
Leave any dead fish floating the tropics for a few hours then was it ashore. It will look just like that. If you don't believe me just visit Florida during a red tide outbreak :-(
Posted by Ed  in  Tampa  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  02:44 PM
Definately a rattail:


Posted by Gee...  on  Fri Jan 20, 2006  at  05:22 PM
http://www.oceans.gov.au/norfanz/CreatureFeature.htm

Picture of a Giant Rattail fish towards the bottom
Posted by rachel  on  Tue Jan 31, 2006  at  12:01 AM
The mystery fish washed ashore is identified...
"Croy McCoy, a research scientist at the Department of Environment, told Cayman Net News that, based on the description and photos provided, he believes the fish is a member of the Family Macrouridae (Coryphaenoididae), better known as grenadiers or rattails. "

http://caymannetnews.com/2006/01/1012/sister/fish.shtml

Also has Color Pictures of the fish.
Posted by Rswilson  on  Tue Feb 07, 2006  at  03:14 PM
So I was right. Don't I deserve a mention in the update? cheese
Posted by Nemo  in  Spain  on  Tue Feb 07, 2006  at  05:15 PM
That can be arranged.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Tue Feb 07, 2006  at  07:42 PM
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