The social media platform helped determine the species of a mysterious sea creature found on a Texas City, Texas, beach after Hurricane Harvey.
Preeti Desai, social media manager at the National Audubon Society, tweeted out a photo of an elongated sea creature with fang-like teeth and seemingly no eyes. Puzzled as to what it was, she put out the call to Twitter: “Okay, biology twitter, what the heck is this??”
The BBC reported the photo found its way to eel specialist Dr. Kenneth Tighe. He then told the Earth Touch News Network the creature is either “an “Aplatophis chauliodus, the fangtooth snake-eel or ‘tusky eel.'”
Earth Touch reported the snake-eels “inhabit waters between 30 and 90 metres deep, and spend most of their time tucked away in burrows.” The reason it has no eyes? The species’ eyes are already small, said Earth Touch, and the eyes are quick to decompose.
The crew from the sailing school vessel Tole Mour and Catalina Island Marine Institute instructors hold an 18-foot-long Oarfish that was found in the waters of Toyon Bay on Oct. 12 on Santa Catalina Island, Calif.1 of 13
A Bathysaurus swims in the Weatch Canyon off Nantucket on Aug. 7. The fish uses its lower jaw to scoop food out of the sand.
Desai found the creature while combing Texas beaches after Hurricane Harvey struck the east coast of Texas last month. She wrote in a post for the National Audubon Society that she was on the lookout for birds the organization was trying to protect. The organization claims Harvey eroded nesting islands, which are already shrinking in land mass because of climate change.
“While watching the skimmers feeding, I saw a weird shape out of the corner of my eye,” she wrote. “Walking closer, we happened upon the bloated corpse of a sea creature.”
Desai told Earth Touch she thought it was a lamprey at first, one tweeter guessed conger eel and another joked it was “the super rare saltwater chupacabra.”