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"It's nearly like a once in a lifetime event, but because there is so many anglers out there we're getting more reports about this little weird things."

Matt Hepworth spoke with The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory Curator of Fishes Dr Michael Hammer.

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory are on the hunt for a rather ugly looking fish,  it’s called the the Worm of Death.

When asked how common is it for people to catch them, Dr Michael Hammer explained, "It's nearly like a once in a lifetime event, but because there is so many anglers out there we're getting more reports about this little weird things."

These peculiar worm gobies share the same Top End estuaries and river mouths as the prized Barramundi. Also coined the ‘Freaky Fish,’ ‘alien’ or ‘deep sea monster’, anglers might  accidentally lure these small 5-30 cm fish on their Barra foray as the Wet Season arrives.  Samples so far include scaleless, small black eyes or blind gobies, while others feature beards.
The Worm of Death is a specific thin golden-pinkish worm-like fish with vicious large fangs. New worm goby species are still being discovered and scientists appreciate assistance from anglers at the same time can identify the catch. 

If you have hooked a worm goby, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 8999 8264.

What do researchers know so far?

  • Gobies are one of the most diverse fish families on Earth with around 2000 species.
  • Worm gobies are a special group in the family that has adapted to live underground — well in the mud.
  • They have poor eyesight, but lots of sensory features to help detect prey and predators.

Listen to the full chat here:

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