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'Alien' catfish: Ugly little fish discovered with a mouthful of sharp teeth

A bizarre little fish has been discovered in India that has scientists puzzled as to how it should be classified as a species. It is a type of catfish, they know. But it is a very different kind of catfish, resembling somewhat one of the creatures from the "Alien" franchise of films. And then there are the four rows of interlocking spike-like teeth.

Tech Times reported on the hideous fish May 18, noting that it was rarely ever seen and could only be found in a specific mountain range in India. A subterranean fish, Kryptoglanis shajii only made rare appearances aboveground, and only in springs or after extensive flooding has flushed it to the surface.

It was only in 2011 that the tiny fish (they only grow to around four inches in length) was decided to be a separate species and that it was part of the catfish family. The reason for this was that its bone structure, not to mention its big mouth full of teeth, made it difficult to classify as a catfish.

Still, that is what it is...

Explains ichthyologist John Lundberg of Drexel University in Philadelphia: "The more we looked at the skeleton, the stranger it got. The characteristics of this animal are just so different that we have a hard time fitting it into the family tree of catfishes."

And it is the teeth that give scientists pause. Researchers are at a loss to explain why the tiny "Alien-looking" fish developed such a mouthful, given its environment.

"In Kryptoglanis, we don't know yet what in their natural evolution would have led to this modified shape," Lundberg says.

They are sure it isn't the fish's diet that helped produce the teeth. The small catfish basically eats insect larvae and tiny invertebrates.

News of the Alien-like catfish is just the latest among a flood of stories about odds, weird, and/or prehistoric-looking fish that have been making headlines of late.

Within the last week, a fisherman in Florida caught a fish that defied identification, and, in North Carolina, a rare lancetfish was pulled from the ocean.

In early May, a megamouth shark was caught and dissected in Japan. It was only the 58th megamouth ever detected.

In mid-April, a very rare goblin shark was hauled in with a load of shrimp.