Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Marine Mystery - Solved!

There are so many fascinating sea creatures that fuel our imagination every time we're enjoying the interface between land, sea and air. Perhaps that's what makes beach combing so much fun. Alanna Lashlee recently sent this picture to the Aquarium wondering, "What is this?" A friend of hers discovered this tooth-like object last week while on the beach near Panama City, FL. "She is thinking it's a shark tooth, but I think not," wrote Lashlee. "I have collected shark teeth in the past and have never seen one like this!"

Thom Demas examined the photo and helped unravel this marine mystery. "Based on the anchor point and the obvious curvature, it's my opinion that this is the spine of a catfish," said Demas. "After reading the note (written by Alanna) I know it was found in a marine location.  That means it is the spine of a gaftopsail catfish or a hardhead catfish. Both are in the same family. The gaftopsail is sometimes called the "crucifix fish" because it has a skull that looks like a crucifix."

Thanks Alanna for sharing your picture - and thanks Thom for your expertise.

This video shows a whoppper of a gaftopsail catfish. You can clearly see the prominent dorsal spine.

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