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Cannibalistic fish washes up on Padre Island National Seashore

Sargassum fish live in seaweed beds in the Gulf of Mexico

Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore (National Park Service Photos)

PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Texas – First, it was blue dragons, then a mystery creature and now it’s a cannibalistic fish that has washed up on Padre Island National Seashore (PINS).

Officials with PINS posted a photo on Facebook Monday morning of a sargassum fish that washed up on the beach a few weeks ago and was discovered by a visitor.

Turns out, the sargassum fish is an ambush predator as well as a cannibal. One fish “was found to have 16 juveniles in its stomach,” according to MissionBlue.org.

PINS officials said the sargassum fish “lives in the seaweed beds out in the Gulf of Mexico” and blends into the seaweed due to its unique coloring.

The sargassum fish can also change color for extra camouflage and “is able to stealthily snatch unsuspecting prey from the water,” according to the Facebook post.

In the continuing saga of weird things washing up on our shore, this little guy was found by a visitor a few weeks ago!...

Posted by Padre Island National Seashore on Monday, November 2, 2020

Don’t worry, the Florida Museum reports that the only danger to humans from these fish is due to the ingestion of “the toxin ciguatoxin, which found on the flesh of the fish.” So if you find one, don’t eat it.

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