Texas fishermen have caught the rarely seen plane’s black river beast, photos show.
Englishmen Justin Jordan and Terrell Maguire were fishing on a swamp in southeast Texas when they encountered the beast.
Jordan, who is a fishing guide in the area for Lotus Guide Service, told Newsweek that the creature was a “very rare” melanistic alligator gar.
He said Maguire was the one “behind the rod” when they caught it. Jordan estimated it was about 5 feet long—however the species can reach enormous lengths.
The fishing guide posted photographs of the catch to his Facebook page, where social media users commented, perplexed at its bizarre appearance.
“Well … [we] found out melanistic gar do exist,” Jordan wrote in a caption to the photographs.
The photos show the jet-black creature thrashing about in the water with its mouth open, displaying a row of large white teeth.
Alligator gars are the biggest of the gar fish species. The fish only live in North and Central America and are known for their large size. Their average length is around 6.5 feet, however some can grow much bigger.
Known for their prehistoric appearance, the giant fish are rare and endangered and usually dark green or olive in color. Ones that are all black, such as this one, are even rarer.
The species is harmless to humans, but due to their large size, they can put up a fight if caught.
Dorothy Ebers commented on the photographs, calling the beast “freaking scary,” while John Truax said: “Creature from Alien lol.” Terry Cana wrote: “What the hell! Yet it is still badass!”
Not much is known about this black species of alligator gar, as they are so rarely seen. Scientists haven’t yet been able to track their population or document their abundance in Texas rivers.
Alligator gar population numbers are decreasing around the U.S because of habitat destruction and overfishing. Their preferred habitat consists of large, slow rivers, which often become restructured or dredged.
The fish are protected in many areas. In Texas, authorities have imposed a “one-per-day bag limit” on the species.
It is not the only alligator gar that has been spotted in Texas in recent weeks.
A fisherman just outside of Houston recently caught a 300-pound alligator gar. Angler Payton Moore compared catching the beast to “walking a T-rex.”
The fish measured 8 feet and 2 inches long. After measuring it, Moore released the gar back into the river.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, a gar caught in Mississippi weighing 327 pounds broke the world record. The state record for the heaviest caught is 302 pounds.