This bizarre looking creature with human-like teeth has alarmed local farmers who discovered it.
A woman working in a rice field, near the town of San Javier, in the north-eastern Argentina province of Santa Fe, saw and photographed the strange creature, which has since been identified as a South American lungfish.
Maria Julia Candotti, who said it was not the first she had seen, said it was a long eel-like body but with wrinkled skin and a mouthful of ugly human-like teeth.
She said sarcastically on Facebook: “This beautiful travelled down the river to go into the rice field.. we do not know what it is, but it is the second one we have found… be careful.”
The sight of the strange creature shocked online commentators such as netizen ‘Maria Celeste Christen’ who commented: “Disgusting and scary.”
Experts later identified it from the photographs as a South American lungfish (epidosiren paradoxa) which can breathe air but is usually found in swamps and slow-moving waters.
Pablo Scarabotti, a scientist with the National Institute of Lumnology of Conicet, said the species – also known as the American mud fish – was unique to South America.
He said: “They build small caves in the mud where they go into and create a kind of cocoon where they can stay for two or three years without needing to go to the surface.”
Their huge teeth are need to break the shells of crabs and snails which make up a major part of their diet.
Scientists know relatively little about the South American lungfish which is found only in the Amazon, Paraguay, and lower Parana River basins in South America.