Derek J., an interpreter at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, obviously has a type.

“I have always loved wolf-eels, but it was only recently that I learned of another big-lipped serpentine fish in British Columbia’s waters, he says.”

He’s talking about the giant wrymouth (Cryptacanthodes giganteus), which he nominated for December’s Staff Pick of the Month. Like wolf-eels, giant wrymouths have long eel-like bodies. Although both animals are fish, neither belong to the group of true eels – Anguilliformes. And, to make things even more confusing, the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) at the Aquarium is actually a type of knifefish and not a true eel either!

Derek, an interpreter at the Vancouver Aquarium, is pensive as he holds a hawksbill turtle prop.

Derek, an interpreter at the Vancouver Aquarium, is pensive as he holds a hawksbill turtle prop.

Regardless, it’s a good thing that Derek enjoys pointing out this sometimes hard-to-see animal to visitors. Although the giant wrymouth can grow to 1.6 metres (the average height of a 14-year-old girl), it doesn’t move a whole lot, so it can be difficult to see at the bottom of the Long Beach exhibit.

Derek petitioned hard to get this animal crowned as the Staff Pick of the Month, even sending out a detailed email to his colleagues about why they should consider voting for this animal. For Derek – it’s all about looks.

He says, “I love a fish with memorable features, and while the giant wrymouth may not win any beauty contests, I find it hard to take my eyes off this unusual creature.”

Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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