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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Screwfish

The Screwfish is a large eel-like fish that inhabits rocky tidal pools and reefs, its blotchy body blending in with the coral and debris of the ocean's floor. The creatures are six to eight feet long, but only eight or ten inches in diameter. They take their name from the dorsal and ventral fins that run the length of their body. These fins are made up of dozens of short, stiff spines that the Screwfish can raise or lower at will. They use these fins to lodge themselves in narrow crevices and gaps in the coral. Once 'screwed in' to a gap the Screwfish is nearly impossible to remove from their lair.

Screwfish are lurking predators, luring prey into reach of their toothy jaws with their tongue, which features a small protruding lure. Once prey comes close the Screwfish latches on with its powerful jaws and withdraws into its lair. Even fairly large creatures are potential victims of the Screwfish, once pinned they become a target for other predators, and once killed, lure in even more prey to the Screwfish's deadly reach. Even humans in shallow water can fall victim. Once bitten and held they eventually bleed to death or fall victim to rising tides or other predators.

Screwfish characteristics:
  • Superb bite attack with Epic jaw strength. Dislodging a Screwfish's jaws is an Epic test of strength.
  • Great toughness. The Screwfish's head is covered with thick, sharp scales, while its more vulnerable body is protected by its lair.
  • Good camouflage. Screwfish adapt their coloration to their locale, making them difficult to spot.

Screwfish flesh is considered a delicacy, and fishermen use heavy lines attached to air bladders lifted by the tides to slowly pull them from their stony lairs. Screwfish jaws are used as crude torture devices by some primitive island cultures.
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