This fish has caught everyone's attention…
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This fish has caught everyone's attention --- just look at its mouth to understand why!

June 14, 2018 • By Shirley Marie Bradby

This fish does not know how to talk like Disney's marine protagonists, yet there is something human about it all the same:  its teeth!

It is the Sheepshead, also known by the name of "sheep fish", another appellation certainly deriving from the resemblance of its dazzling smile with that of sheep.

If you think that this fish is almost impossible to run into or find, you are wrong! Belonging to the marine family Sparidae (porgy or sea bream), Sheepshead fish live in tropical seas but also in more temperate waters.

The sheepshead fish has a dentition that seems in all respects that on human beings!

The reason for these teeth is to catch and feed on fish.

The most common type of sheepshead fish has three rows of molars in the upper jaw and two rows of teeth on the bottom, thanks to which it is able to easily crush even the hardest shells! In fact, this omnivorous seafood eater has refined tastes: shellfish, crabs, and oysters are its favorite food!


The peculiarities of sheepshead fish do not end here.

Another peculiarity of this bizarre fish is its color which is silvery and yellowish white, with olive-brown tones in the lower part and five or six dark-colored vertical stripes along each side. It can grow up to a maximum of 44 lb (20 kg), which is why it was at risk in the past, due to uncontrolled fishing. Fortunately, the fish population of sheepshead fish is increasing as a whole, and many specimens are often spotted by divers around the mangrove roots, docks and wharves of South Africa and Florida.

A very intriguing fish!

Now that you know where to find them, you can spot them more easily. But a word of warning to those of you who like to go fishing! Sheepshead fish have super-strong jaws and are, in fact, able to break even metal hooks! Better to just admire them in their natural habitat, don't you think?


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