The oceans are rammed with odd, freakish-looking creatures. Take, for example, "volcano" jellyfish, the New Zealand rough skate (which looks like evil incarnate), and pretty much anything from Russian deep-sea fisherman Roman Fedortsov's Insta account.
And then there's this. It is 15 centimeters (6 inches) long, has teeth that look like icicles, and no eyes. It also bears an uncanny resemblance to the Chestburster monster in the 1979 Ridley Scott classic Alien.
This particular specimen was caught by angler Tee Hokin. She hauled the creature out of the Shady Camp fishing area on the Mary River, a site close to Kakadu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory.
"Honestly the first thing I thought about was the Alien movie with Sigourney Weaver and that thing that comes out of people's stomach, that's exactly what I thought, and that's what they describe it as when you look it up on the Internet," she told ABC News, describing the moment she first stumbled upon the goby.
It didn't move or wriggle, she recalled. Instead, it looked stunned – "like stealth mode", she said. To get it off the lure and send it back to the ocean from whence it came, Hokin and the other anglers had to rip it off with pliers.
"You'd probably s*** your pants if it was bigger," Hokin continued.
"I was like what the hell is that?!"
A worm goby (Taenioides cirratus), as a matter of fact. Michael Hammer, a curator of fishes from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), says it could even be an entirely new species of worm goby, though that would have to be confirmed with an X-ray.
He added, MAGNT is currently overseeing a citizen science project to learn more about this mysterious creature, asking people who cross paths with a worm goby to get in touch.
Worm gobies are mud-dwelling fish that can be found lurking in coastal waters, estuaries, and rivers and feeding on crustaceans and other invertebrates. But for all its beastly looks, Hammer says it is very rarely dangerous.
Although he did add this caveat: "they do grow up to 50 centimeters in length, so once they are that big they could give you a bit of a bite."
[H/T: ABC News]