A photo posted by Kristine Tillotson of a strange unidentified sea creature on Mill Beach in Brookings, Oregon, has recently gone viral on Reddit. Tillotson remarked that she posted the photo on Reddit in “a bone collecting group as well as a marine biologist group”, and that the general consensus was that it was a type of eel called a monkeyface prickleback eel. She had posted the photo on 18 and 19 June on the subreddits r/bonecollecting and r/marinebiology respectively, aiming to identify the creature.

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The picture depicts an animal that appears to be decomposing, with sharp teeth and shedding skin.

“I was excited and confused when I first saw it. I love walking the beach to see what washes up whether it’s animals or shells. I thought it was super interesting because it didn’t look like any fish I’d ever seen, it looked like one of those deep-sea creatures,” Tillotson stated, posting from her handle u/Tilkrik. 

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Reddit users under both posts suspected that it was either a monkeyface prickleback eel or a wolf eel, ultimately concluding that it was the former due to the appearance of its teeth. 

Reddit user u/nuttymeme commented: “Def not wolf eels. The position of the eyes of wolf eels are more lateral. The teeth of wolf eels are differentiated and not that numerous.”

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Monkeyface prickleback eels are named so due to their head, which has a lump shaped like a monkey’s nose. They are native to the Pacific coast of North America.

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