These fish are out of the deep sea, and into your nightmares, all thanks to the social media accounts of a Russian deep-sea fisherman.
Roman Fedortsov is a fisherman based in Murmansk, Russia, who primarily seeks normal-looking fish like cod and haddock. But sometimes he catches non-target, rarely-seen species.
“This fish rarely gets into the trawl,” Fedortsov said via a Telegram app communication with Newsweek about one of his particularly odd catches. “This is an accidental catch.”
Currently, Fedortsov is in the Norwegian Sea, where he sets out deep-sea trawlers. Occasionally he catches non-target species, takes pictures of them, sometimes at odd angles, and posts the pictures to his Instagram and Twitter.
For example, the below picture is Lycodes reticulatus, a plentiful fish from the North Atlantic Ocean. Fedortsov said that he thinks they look like dwarves from The Lord of the Rings.
This one shows a fish with a parasitic isopod in its mouth, which is a creature that eats the tongue of its host and then lives in its mouth.
Of course, Fedortsov can make weird-looking fish look even weirder with some clever perspectives. For example, this halibut looks like it just has one eye, but the other eye is on the far side of its body. When halibuts are born, they have one eye on each side of their body, but then one eye migrates to join the other.
Below is a bearded sea devil, which is a member of a genus of anglerfish.
Sadly, the fish in the bycatch die an unfortunate death when brought up in the net. As deep-sea creatures, they are used to a high-pressure environment, and when brought to the surface too fast, their eyes sometimes pop out and their organs rupture.
But that’s a reality of deep sea fishing and studying marine life. As they say in Russia, “Без муки нет науки,” or, “without torture, no science.”