Pictures of 'sea monster' go viral

Sylvia Varnham O'Regan, ninemsn
7:04am February 27, 2013
Mysterious creatures of the deep
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A large eel-like creature with thick lips and jagged teeth has been found in New Jersey waters.

Pictures of the unusual creature were posted to website Reddit this week and have attracted more than one million views, the New York Daily News reports.

New Jersey man Doug Cutler reportedly used a bow and arrow to spear the creature, which he spotted on a fishing trip.

Its identity is unknown, but a New York Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman told Outdoor magazine it appeared to be a sea lamprey, a parasite found in northern Atlantic waters.

While the "eel" looks monstrous in images posted online, the photos appear to have been taken at an angle which made the creature look larger than it really was.

The sea lamprey grows up to 1.2m in length and weighs up to 2.5kg, according to the MarineBio Conservation Society.

Doug Cutler, pictured here with his unusual catch. (Doug Cutler)
Doug Cutler, pictured here with his unusual catch. (Doug Cutler)

It attaches itself to host fish including herring, mackerel, salmon, trout and some sharks using a "sucker".

Source: Water and Rivers Comission, New York Daily News, MarineBio Conservation Society

Author: Sylvia Varnham O'Regan, Approving editor: Fiona Willan

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