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Hooked on Vampire Fish

Megafish-finder and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Zeb Hogan was fired up when I spoke with him at the Explorers Symposium about a new Nat Geo Channel show called Hooked. The series chronicles the quest for some of the world’s most enormous, extraordinary, and downright bizarre fish.

Hooked premieres in the United States at 10 et/pt tonight with a look at the toothiest all-wet wonders. These include the Congo River’s Goliath tiger fish, with substantial pearly-whites featured in the video above, and the Amazon’s payara or vampire fish, seen here looking, um, decidedly dangerous.

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Unlike Twilight’s Edward Cullen, this vampire sports some serious fangs—about two inches (five centimeters) long, to be precise. Cavities in the roof of the fish’s mouth sheath these natural daggers when they’re not embedded in prey. Despite the name, the payara doesn’t actually suck blood. Still, I recommend against getting bitten by one.

Hooked also reels in the Amazonian pacu fish, which has teeth that resemble, well, possibly yours if you forgot to floss. Just say “ah.”

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Catch the Hooked premier tonight on the National Geographic Channel. Explore the website, which includes Zeb Hogan’s Top Ten Ugly and Endangered Fish and an invitation to share your own amazing catch photos and fish stories. And if you’re programming your DVR, why not subscribe to the whole series, so you can catch Zeb next week as he searches Thailand’s waterways for the giant freshwater stingray?

Photographs by Julia Dorn courtesy the National Geographic Channel

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