NAGS HEAD, NC (WBTV) - Photos of a mysterious deepwater fish are going viral on social media after the strange looking fish washed up along the North Carolina coast on Monday.
The fish, believed to be a lancetfish, washed onto the shore along Nags Head, along the Outer Banks, just south of Jennette's Pier.
The photos were taken by Leif Rasmussen from Manteo.
Officials with Jennette's Pier say the fish was alive when it washed up on the shoreline Monday evening.
Because of its appearance and its long and very high dorsal fin biologists on staff with Jennette's Pier believe the fish is a lancetfish.
Lancetfish have large mouths and sharp teeth and are typically known to be deepwater fish.
Very little is known about the lancetfish's biology, but they are known to be in all of the oceans, except the polar seas.
After taking pictures of the strange-looking fish Rasmussen walked the fish back out to the ocean, as deep as he could walk. He then released the fish back into the water.
Pier officials say the fish ended up washing up to the shore again, so they believe something was wrong with it.
Jennette's Pier is located along milepost 16.5 on Nags Heads and is owned by the North Carolina Aquarium. The pier reopened three years ago and is celebrating its anniversary on Wednesday.