Goliath Tiger fish –Hydrocynus goliath

Hydrocynus goliath; Source: http://scienceblogs.com

Highly evolved freshwater giant with great white shark sized teeth!

This terrifyingly toothy creature is the Goliath tiger fish, native to the Congo River system.  Sometimes described as a larger and fiercer version of the South American piranha, the tiger fish can grow to over 2 metres in length and 50kg in weight – a ferociously efficient hunter evolved to cope with the fast, deep and turbulent waters of the Congo River.

Fish biologist and angler Jeremy Wade led an expedition to catch and document Goliath tiger fish for the TV program River Monsters, a clip of which can be seen below:

The Goliath tiger fish has evolved to hunt in the deep (over 200m in parts!), turbulent and murky waters of the Congo River.  An internal air sac senses the flitting vibrations of nearby prey species, much like the beating of a tense drum skin.  The tiger fish uses its streamlined and muscular body to spring swiftly into an attack, trapping prey between its sharp, prominent and interlocking teeth.

It is perhaps not surprising that this ferocious curiosity is surrounded by much myth and speculation – with tales of cannibalism and attacks on humans and crocodiles.  The fish is also the subject of intense scientific research into its evolutionary adaptations and changes to the unique and stressful environment it inhabits.  A true one-off, and an animal about which we still have much to discover, the Goliath tiger fish is a deserved entry into the Cabinet of Freshwater Curiosities.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: DR Congo and South Africa sign pact to implement 40,000-MW Grand Inga Dam « The BioFresh blog

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