Chiang Mai, Thailand — In the northern province of Chiang Mai, Thailand, fishermen along the Ruak River were shocked to discover an unknown fish tangled in their throw net. Its body was about 2 feet long and resembled an eel. But its head didn’t resemble any fish they had ever seen or heard of.
The strange creature had a gaping mouth lined with razor-sharp teeth. The fishermen poked at it, and it bit their stick refusing to let go. They then threw the creature back into the river.
The Ruak River is one of the major river tributaries in Thailand that runs through 6 different countries in Southeast Asia. The Ruak also connects to the Mekong River which is 3,050 miles long, and is the 12th largest river in the world.
Because of its nutrient-rich sediment, the river has become home to over 1,000 known species of fish. But marine biologists believe there are still also many unknown species that have yet to be discovered in this unique ecosystem.
Researchers from the Department of Marine Science at Chulalongkorn University are examining the fishermen’s video, and believe the creature may be an unknown hybrid species of eel, or possibly an eel born with some congenital defects.
But without a live specimen and some DNA samples, the researchers say they may never be able to precisely determine the biological origin of this creature.