Lovely set of dentures best there. Could use part brushing, though. Credit: VA institute of marine Science (VIMS).

You are watching: Fish that looks like it has human teeth

We’re used come seeing every kinds of wacky and crazy-looking pets in the wild. The sheepshead fish is no exception, boasting some significant dentures that bear one uncanny same to those of humans — incisors and also molars included.

This isn’t Photoshopped

Common to north American coastal waters, indigenous Cape Cod, Massachusetts come the Gulf of Mexico, the sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) have the right to be seen approximately rock pilings, jetties, mangroves, reefs, and also piers. Many of all, they thrive in brackish waters.

It can grow up to roughly 91 cm (35 inches) in length and weigh as much as 9.6 kg (21 lbs).

Bunch the sheepshead convicts. Credit: MENTALBLOCK_DMD; FLICKR

It’s sometimes referred to as the “convict fish” due to the black color vertical stripes over its human body — a nickname i m sorry the sheepshead apparently takes really seriously since it’s frequently seen steal bait.

A infant sheepshead fish mirroring off the still farming teeth. Credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The sheepshead, together you’ve most likely noticed, has actually sharp incisors sit at the prior of the jaw, and also molars collection in three rows in the top jaw and also two rows in the reduced jaw.

Like humans, the makes suitable use of these dentures to suit its omnivorous diet consist of of small vertebrate and invertebrate animals, and plants.

Its hard and sturdy molars are provided to crush the shell of its prey and actually end up being stronger relying on its environment. If a sheepshead fish resides in a shell-rich environment it will grow larger and also stronger this than one more sheepshead fish.

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“There was a far-reaching correlation in between increased pressure production and increased durophagous habit. Research studies such together this one speak straight to the relationship between maximum practical potential and actual trends of source use,” notes L. P. Hernandez native the Museum of compare Zoology in ~ Harvard University and also P. J. Motta native the room of Biology in ~ the university of southern Florida in a 1997 problem of the Journal that Zoology. 

It has a psychedelic cousin

The sheepshead is part of an entire family of weird fish. The Sparidae family members includes varieties that engage in various forms of hermaphroditism, either from male to female, the reverse or unisex. However, the sheepshead is very confident the its sexuality native birth and doesn’t readjust its sex.

The Salema porgy (Sarpa salpa), an additional Sparidae fish, has actually been recognized for that is psychedelic properties because that millennia. Some aristocrats indigenous the Roman empire would periodically use this fish to acquire high. The Romans had actually a rather peculiar sense the partying, however, since the Salema porgy offers you one hell that a trip – hallucinations and also terrifying nightmares that have the right to last for several days.

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The sheepshead fish, however, is perfectly edible and also a fast google find reveals numerous recipes. In fact, the sheepshead is very sought after by restaurants, thanks to its good white flesh and mild palatable taste


Tibi Puiu

Tibi is a science journalist and co-founder that ZME Science. That writes mainly about emerging tech, physics, climate, and also space. In his spare time, Tibi likes to make weird music ~ above his computer and also groom felines.