Friday mystery object #169 answer

On Friday I gave you this specimen to identify:

It was one of those specimens that if you’d seen one before it was easy, if not it’s quite hard to work out.

In gross shape the skull has some similarities to that of a reptile, perhaps something like a Monitor lizard (albeit a little narrower). However, it actually belongs to a fish.

Cam Weir recognised this and managed to identify the kind of fish to genus and then species level, along with henstridgesj, 23thorns, Barbara Powell and Robin. Leigh and Ethan were also in the right ball-park with their identifications. This is the skull of the Common Pike Conger Muraenesox bagio (Hamilton, 1822).

These eels occur around Australia, much of Asia and around the southern and eastern coast of Africa. They can get up to 2m long and weigh up to 7kg. They are predatory (as you probably guessed from those teeth) feeding on fish and crustaceans.

Head of a Common Pike Eel caught at Lake Curalo by © Ian Merrington @ DPI Fisheries

You certainly wouldn’t want to mess with one of these chaps – they have been known to attack anglers and those teeth could really do some damage!

One thought on “Friday mystery object #169 answer

  1. Hi Paolo, thank you for posting a fish skull, the timing was just perfect for me. Having just moved from the Northumberland coast, (great for dead things washed up) to the Solent I am desperate for new material to collect and had been thinking about fish skulls. Your specimen has really whetted my appetite, and if I start with a trip to Camber Dock in Portsmouth I can even enjoy the bits I usually have to dispose of.

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