10 Most Diabolical Fish On Earth Parti 1


Orthodontist’s nightmare: Tigerfish

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The body of this fish is built for speed and power; and with its scaly armour, pointed fins, and conspicuous need for a brace even when its mouth is shut, the Tigerfiish is highly prized as a game fish. Found in freshwater across Africa, the Tigerfish will chomp on practically any fish that strays into its path using strong jaw muscles and dagger-like teeth that mesh together like the Piranha’s. It’s even reputed to take on prey as big or much bigger than itself; added reason to stay out of the water. Fishermen have a healthy respect for the Goliath Tigerfish, a monster uniquely adapted to the Congo River that the National Geographic recently described as an example of “evolution on steroids”. Make that evil-lution on steroids.
Fisherman’s fiend: Tigerfish

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5. Snakehead Fish (up to 3 feet)

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Previously introduced in these columns when it was reported to have invaded Britain, the Snakehead fish can be one mean mother – quite literally as it’s thought to have attacked humans who have gone too close to its young. Widely distributed across South East Asia, parts of India and Africa, the giant tropical specimen boasts a fat mouth and sharp pointed teeth, and will eat just about everything in or on a body of water, be it fish, bird, amphibian or mammal.
Overrun by old iron lung: Snakehead Fish

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If the Tigerfish is evolution gone berserk, then this is evolution that’s remained raw but no less brutal, the Snakehead having originated at least 50 million years ago. Yet the Snakehead is also like a living example of evolutionary adaptation; incredibly it uses a primitive lung and breathes atmospheric air. Yes, this sucker can survive on wet land for prolonged spells, crawling to the next pond or lake to resume feeding by wriggling its body and fins. It’s perhaps no surprise that this apex predator is a prime example of a dangerously invasive species that can wreak ecological havoc, spawning like wildfire and wiping out anything in its environment. You’ve been warned.
Northern Snakehead

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6. Viperfish (up to 6 feet)

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Moving to the bottom five of our top ten, we come to the Viperfish, another predatory nasty with a snaky moniker. Rather like its bioluminescent buddy the Anglerfish, the Viperfish keeps to the ocean’s lower reaches. At night, though, this gruesome looking member the bottom feeding brotherhood swims to shallower depths of less than 700 feet where food is more available. Mercifully we wouldn’t fall into the F-word category were we ever to come face to face with the Pacific Viperfish – an extra large specimen that that may demonstrate deep-sea gigantism, reaching as long as 2 m. A relief to be sure, as the teeth protruding from that grim underbite look less than friendly – prey or not.
Grandma what big teeth you have: Viperfish

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7. Fangtooth Fish (up to 6 inches)

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Another cruel-faced deep-dwelling assassin, and one of the deepest-dwelling at that, the Fangtooth fish is found at murky depths as far as 5 km below the surface. Endowed with oversized fang-like teeth and a hefty jaw, the Fangtooth’s two largest lower fangs are so long the fish has a pair of sockets on either side of its tiny brain for the teeth to slot into when it shuts its mouth. The Fangtooth is actually thought to have the largest teeth of any ocean fish relative to its body size, though it needs to be able to grab any meal it can, even if larger than itself. Though haggard and scary in appearance, this fish is too small to be harmful to humans – unless it swims into your dreams.
Fangtooth preserved

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8. Dragonfish (up to 16 inches)

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The deep-sea horrors continue, and the Dragonfish has the by know familiar outsized mouth and fang-like teeth that are hallmarks of the abyssal beasts we’ve seen – but, hey, they’ve got to eat, and anything encountered will do. The Dragonfish’s head seems to be all jaw and eyes, but unlike its relative the Viperfish, it has a barbel that dangles from its chin and emits light to attract unwary prey, rather like the lure of the Anglerfish. The Dragonfish might have swum further up our list if it weren’t for its bold bioluminescent beauty. Still, it leaves us in no doubt that it can be a ferocious predator that you definitely wouldn’t want getting primeval on you.
Shining light: Scaly Dragonfish

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9. Gulper Eel (up to 6 feet)

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With a mouth much larger than its body – a mouth that makes the word enormous seem too tiny – the Gulper Eel swims into our midst, whip-like tail in tow. This bizarre and terrifying looking creature also goes by the name of Pelican Eel, and that massive pouch of a lower jaw makes it easy to see why. The mouth is slack-hinged, and can be opened wide enough for the Gulper to swallow creatures much larger than itself, while the gut of this freaky fish also stretches so it can stomach large meals. But despite the size of the Gulper’s jaws, it has rather small teeth, suggesting a preferred diet of smaller fish. This monster inhabits depths thousands of feet down. A good job too, else we’d be the ones gulping – with fear.
Hard to swallow? Gulper Eel

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10. Conger Eel (up to 10 feet)

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Finally, moving to slightly less bottomless depths, its time to get up close and personal with the Conger Eel. It may not have as many fancy tricks up its crevice as its cousin the Moray, but with its great size and none too pretty chops, the carnivorous Conger Eel busts its way into the top ten. The American Conger, or sea eel, is known for being a particularly fierce game fish. Fronting up to you with a chunky head, wide mouth and strong teeth that could really do some damage, we definitely wouldn’t want to be fooling around with one of these bad boys – unless it was safely on our dinner plate.
Dare you do the conger? Conger Eel

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